NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - This baby Kemp's Ridley sea turtle was brought to the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation last week suffering from what marine researchers call cold-stunning. It's a condition similar to hypothermia that many people can relate to.
Senior biologist Robert DiGiovanni says 42 animals have been rescued this season, more than a dozen in just this month. Only 13 have survived. Since turtles are cold-blooded, he explains their heartbeat speeds up and their body temperatures drop in colder conditions.
Experts tell us the unusually warm temperatures we saw in November and December kept many turtles from migrating. They're kept in a controlled environment and watched closed to make sure they eat enough food.
If you're walking along the coastline and you see a sea turtle, it's important to assume it's alive. Call the Foundation immediately. The animals that are undergoing rehabilitation will be kept through the winter and be released in June or July.