Veterinarian removes eel from loggerhead sea turtle’s body

In this photo provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau, veterinarian Dr. Brooke Burkhalter displays a goldspotted eel she surgically removed from the body cavity of "Shelmore," a subadult loggerhead sea turtle, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018, at the Florida Keys-based Turtle Hospital in Marathon, Fla. Hospital officials don't understand why the turtle consumed the eel as it is not a normal part of sea turtles' diet. The turtle was rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard Sept. 18, 2018. (Bette Zirkelbach/Florida Keys News Bureau via AP)

MARATHON, Fla. (AP) — A veterinarian has removed a 2-foot-long (0.61-meter-long) eel from the body cavity of a loggerhead sea turtle in the Florida Keys.

Dr. Brooke Burkhalter needed three hours Tuesday to complete the unusual procedure to remove the goldspotted eel from Shelmore, a sub-adult turtle who had been rescued Sept. 18 off Islamorada by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Turtle Hospital officials don’t understand why the turtle consumed the eel, as it is not a normal part of sea turtles’ diet. They also likened the incident to a fictional horror movie, saying that the eel had eaten through the turtle’s intestinal tract, before its death, to get to the body cavity.

Hospital officials listed the turtle’s condition as critical Tuesday afternoon.

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Online: The Turtle Hospital, http://www.turtlehospital.org/

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