Green Sea Turtle
Species: Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas)
Weight: ~ 110 lbs.
Diet: Squid, Capelin, and Lefty Greens
Stranded: 02/28/99, Cocoa Beach, FL
Story: Suffered a boat strike to the skull, leaving him blind.
Loves: Leafy greens
Known For: His excellent sense of smell
Can Be Found: Nosing around his pool
Did You Know? Without his sight, Cocoa wouldn't be able to find food in the wild.
Our gentle boy, Cocoa, was found by a fisherman floating near the Hanlover Canal in Cocoa Beach on February 28th, 1999. Cocoa had deep propeller damage to his head, his right front flipper and plastron, as well as one golf-ball sized tumor on his ventral side. Recovered by the Coast Guard, he arrived at Clearwater Marine Aquarium on March 1, 1999. Upon closer examination of his wounds, it was found that the most severe injuries were sustained on his head. The wound went through the roof of his skull, through his left eye, and down through his maxilla. Cocoa also had a variety of issues including a broken ulna in his right front flipper, a semi-healed fractured radius in his left front flipper, a ruptured right eye, and severed edges of the maxilla that would need to be surgically rejoined. Although Cocoa has overcome many obstacles, the trauma he received to his head did a substantial amount of damage, leaving him completely blind. Cocoa regained normal mobility in his flippers, and while he has the ability to swim normally, dive, and rest on the bottom, he is a unique case because he cannot forage nor locate food on his own. Every day, one of our volunteers gets into the back pool at "Turtle Bayou" with Cocoa and hand-feeds him his squid, fish, and greens. This is not just an exciting experience for our volunteers, but for Cocoa as well, because we use his feeding time as an opportunity for tactile enrichment! On March 1, 2013, Cocoa will be celebrating his 14th year with us here at Clearwater Marine Aquarium. We look forward to many more years with him as a member of our resident family, because we are lucky to have a case as unique as Cocoa's.