After months of hanging around the Outer Banks, two loggerhead sea turtles – “Behemoth” and “Miss Piggy” – are finally starting to head south for the winter, according to an online satellite tracker that has followed the turtles’ movements since their mid-2023 releases.
Miss Piggy, a 209-pound loggerhead turtle, was found along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore on September 15, 2022, and was lethargic and anemic. She was treated at the Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation (STAR) Center at the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island and released back into the ocean at a May 2023 public event in Buxton that drew a large crowd.
Behemoth is a 355-pound male loggerhead turtle who was found stranded in August 2022 with severe anemia. Also treated at the STAR Center, Behemoth was released back into the ocean waters near Coquina Beach on Bodie Island in July 2023.
The STAR Center regularly collects and rehabilitates sea turtles that are found stranded along the Outer Banks beaches. While most of their turtle patients are cold-stunned sea turtles that are found in the wintertime, some might be victims of a fishhook, animal attack, or another injury that requires special care. When they have been rehabilitated, they are released back into the ocean, usually several months after they were admitted as patients.
Both Miss Piggy and Behemoth were equipped with a satellite tracker before their releases, so that researchers and the public in general could track their movements.
“As of January 5th, Miss Piggy was just off the point of Hatteras, and as of December 20th, Behemoth has traveled all the way down to the southern end of North Carolina, almost reaching South Carolina,” stated the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island in a January 11 update.
As Miss Piggy and Behemoth continue their winter explorations, the public can continue to follow their adventures through the interactive tracking map, and can see where both turtles have traveled so far since the summer of 2023.
For more information on the STAR Center at the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island, visit the STAR Center’s blog. For more information on N.E.S.T., which works with the STAR Center to find and rescue Hatteras Island sea turtles, visit http://www.nestonline.org/.