Meet the Mote Sea Turtles
Hang Tough is a green sea turtle brought to Mote from Bull Bay in Charlotte Harbor in 1992. Hang Tough had a hook in one eye and a puncture wound to the top of the head, along with a skull fracture. The turtle’s other eye was recessed and permanently closed. Because Hang Tough was permanently blind, state officials decided that the turtle could not be released. By caring for him since that time, Mote scientists and animal care experts have learned much about the nutrition habits of green turtles, how to care for a blind turtle and the reasons why some turtles are blind.
Shelley & Montego are adult female loggerhead sea turtles that were born in
North Carolina in 1977. These animals, along with three male loggerhead turtles, were reared in captivity and participated in growth and mating studies. When those studies ended, the male turtles were sent to
Orlando and the females – later named Shelley and Montego in an essay contest for school children – came to Mote to help educate the public about sea turtles.
Harriet is a green sea turtle that arrived at Mote’s Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital on Nov. 17, 2007, after it was found floating in the Banana River area. Wounds on its head and cranial carapace led animal care staff to determine that the turtle had been struck by a boat.
While the turtle’s health improved, the animal’s vision did not and Harriet is believed to be blind, at least in one eye. Because of the turtle’s permanent injury, state wildlife officials declared it “unreleaseable” in 2008 — meaning that the turtle can never be returned to the wild. Harriet has been given a permanent home at Mote and she currently resides with manatees Hugh and Buffett.
Edgar was a unique loggerhead sea turtle that called Mote home from her arrival as a sick sea turtle hatchling in 1992 until she passed away in January 2011. Click here to learn more about Edgar.
Mote Marine Laboratory has been a leader in marine research since it was founded in 1955. Today, we incorporate public outreach as a key part of our mission. Mote is an independent nonprofit organization and has seven centers for marine research, the public Mote Aquarium and an Education Division specializing in public programs for all ages.