Some Florida sea turtles are in need of a Snuggie.
The UF College of Veterinary Medicine welcomed 14 green sea turtles threatened by the cold weather at about 4 p.m. Monday, bringing the total number of turtles currently residing in UF shelters up to 51.
Brian Stacy, a veterinarian with UF and the National Marine Fisheries Service, said dips in water temperature usually cause turtles to move to deeper, warmer water.
However, some turtles don’t make the move, and state wildlife agencies and volunteers step in to rescue them.
UF is keeping its rescued turtles in tanks varying in size from 50 gallons to 500 gallons, Stacy said.
Claire Vaiden, a veterinary technician and a volunteer for the College of Veterinary Medicine, said checking the water temperature in the tanks is vital to the turtles' health.
If the water is too warm, turtles will have a hard time acclimating in the wild, Vaiden said.
Stacy said this winter has been one of the worst for the turtles.
The turtles cannot tolerate water temperatures in the high 40s and low 50s.
“Everyone who works with turtles hopes this is a once-in-a-lifetime event,” Stacy said.