Washbacks

Hatchling to Washback

Washbacks are sea turtle hatchlings that have made it to the open ocean, began eating, and are on their way to the line of Sargassum seaweed, over 50-100 miles in the ocean!

With fall storms, strong ocean currents and winds, sea turtle hatchlings that make it to the seaweed can be pushed back onto the beach even months later - and become a washback. 

Washback turtles cannot get back to their Sargassum habitat by themselves. They used all their egg nutrition to swim out that far, and now can’t make the swim back out to thrive.

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Care at the Hospital

Care at the Hospital

The Sea Turtle Hospital staff cares for hundreds of washbacks each season. When they are brought to the Sea Turtle Hospital, we watch over and care for them. We make sure they get their energy back for a boat ride out to their ocean home. Each washback is treated just like a patient in our hospital.

When they arrive they receive a full exam, fluids if dehydrated, a patient number, and a swim test. If any of the washbacks have injuries, they are treated by our veterinary care team. Each washback receives a two character ID which is written on their carapace with marker (don’t worry it is removed before they are released). This ID helps us track who is eating and improving or who needs extra attention.

Our washbacks get fed 3-5 times a day and our animal care team monitors their overall body condition and health. Once cleared for release, we work with FWC and neighboring facilities to organize an offshore boat trip to release the washbacks in their Sargassum seaweed habitat. 

Helping Washbacks

If you encounter a washback sea turtle (small hatchling size), call MyFWC Florida Fish and Wildlife 1-888-404-3922 and if directed, deliver to our drop-off location in front of the Whitney Laboratory Administration Building where our essential staff check throughout the day.

If you would like to join us to help support the care of washbacks gifts can be made online or by mail. Our successes together wouldn’t be possible without the continued support of Sea Turtle friends like you! 

Make a Gift

Washback Lifecycle

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Thank you Washback Friends!

Thank you Washback Friends!

Thank you to all of our Washback Friends who symbolically named and Adopted a Washback to celebrate our 5th Anniversary in October 2020. With your help, we raised over $6,500 to help hundreds of washbacks cared for by the Sea Turtle Hospital staff this past year. We couldn't do it without you!

Stay tuned for the next opportunity to Adopt-A-Washback!

2020 Adopted Washback Names

Radar
PRIMO
Freedom
Melby
Chely
Jax
Noli
Faith
Emma
Sandy
William
Sebod 2
Zip
Sam
Amelia
Catfish
Jill
Daisy
Dax
Sonia
Atlantica
Joey
Ace
Pokey
Bravo
Daintree
Ma-von
Stitch
Elena Kay
Sterling
Sargasso
Carey
Nellie
Miss Vicki
Frank
Squishy
Abcd
Chester
Yoshi
Victoria
Lucy
Brownie
Sheila
kūpaʻa
Mattie's Friend
Yoda
Xcalibur
Pop Tart
Nina
Lenny

Bishop
Kamala
Luka
Hope
Dell
Gordon
Skeeter
Kahuna
Henry
ICANDOIT
Squirt
Isla
Amy
Bolt
Leilani
Cliff
Booker
Dak
Jenny
Tina
Marvin
J&J
R&E
JFS
Josie
Cecilia
Goose
Ben & Jay
Crush
Cindy
Atalanta
Optimus Prime
Chelsye Ginn
Carson
Louise
Jones
Bandika
Franklin
Tuffy
Ansley
ODee 904
Kale
Titan
Ripley Luna
Irish King
Matsume
Trevor Augustine
Sheba
Amelia
Roman II

Delamar
Olive Oil
Suzanne Grimes
Harry Augustine Rose
Princess Anastasia the 16th
Chicken
Yurtle
Bailee
Mittens
Sam
Hardshell Fran
Fafarelle
Little Gwen
Simer & Lemy
Sparky
Judge Motley
Augustus
Finnegan
Neptune
Charlotte Hannon
Cooper Hannon
Thalassa Vasílissa
Coastal Cruiser!
Jackson the Fierce
Joan’s Washback
Survivor
SaltyBrine
ZoomieDani
Vovse's Turtle
Lucy
Christopher Hayes
Sarah Gail
Jack
Shelby
Sandi
Doug
Jay Jay
Captain Obvious
Kimberly
Roy DeCastro
Bodie Baby Turtle
Ben Baby Turtle
Kendall Baby Turtle
Crush
Snorkle
Skyttles
Scout
Padawan
Mayor Leslie Babonis
Oaklye
Pequeno