The Scoop

Locals Encouraged to Report Cold Stunned Sea Turtles

RIVERHEAD: Every year the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation (RFMRP) solicits volunteers to patrol the beaches to search for cold stunned sea turtles. “Cold-stunning,” or hypothermia is a condition that threatens the lives of many sea turtles every year, as turtles become immobile due to the dramatic decrease in the water temperature. A “cold-stunned” sea turtle often appears dead but may actually be alive, and proper emergency care can save their lives.

Anyone who observes a stranded sea turtle should call the RFMRP’s 24 Hour Hotline, 631-369-9829, immediately. The RFMRP staff urges beachgoers not to try to warm recovered turtles up at all, as warming the animals too quickly can lead to shock.

The Riverhead Foundation received its first cold stunned sea turtle of the season on November 9 after a concerned beach walker spotted it in Hampton Bays. Its heart rate is strong and stable, and the RFMRP continues to monitor its vital signs. For updates on the rehab process, visit or check out RFMRP’s Facebook page.

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