Tracking Burt Reynolds


Release Date: August 16, 2017
Transmitter Type: Wildlife Computers Splash10F-351D
Data Collected: GPS location, Water Temperature, and Behavior Information
Expected Lifespan of Tag: 1 Year, depending on battery life

Distance From Juno Beach:
304 miles
Current Water Temperature: 71.8°F
Nearest City: Cocoa Beach, Florida
Recent Coordinates: Latitude: 28.566 Longitude: -80.343
Total Distance Traveled: 2,111 miles


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Burt Reynolds, our sea turtle patient, was named in honor of home town hero and television, stage, and film icon Burt Reynolds.

Burt Reynolds (the sea turtle) is a sub-adult olive ridley sea turtle that was found entangled in a net in the surf on Hobe Sound Beach on October 29, 2016. Burt Reynolds is the first olive ridley to strand as far north as Martin County, and is also only the 5th olive ridley to be documented stranding in Florida. “Meghan”, was treated by LMC in 2013-2014 and was the first ever successfully rehabilitated olive ridley sea turtle in Florida, making Burt Reynolds the second successfully rehabilitated olive ridley sea turtle, and the first one to receive a satellite transmitter.

Olive ridleys are pelagic animals that are more commonly found around Central and South America so we are interested to see where Burt Reynolds travels after release.

Burt Reynolds arrived underweight and with a constriction injury to the front left flipper. The turtle was initially treated with parenteral nutrition and antibiotics. After two and half months in rehab at LMC’s Sea Turtle Hospital, Burt Reynolds was strong enough to dive to the bottom of the tank and was medically cleared by our veterinarian with a clean bill of health. On August 16, 2017, Burt Reynolds was released off of Key West, Florida with a Wildlife Computer’s satellite transmitter. Follow the turtle’s journey by clicking on Burt Reynolds’ photo.

Final Update 2/19/2018:
After moving south with the first drop in water temperatures, Burt Reynolds ventured north a bit before circling back south. Unfortunately, 171 days after the turtle was released from Key West, Florida we lost Burt Reynolds’ signals just north of Cocoa Beach, Florida on February 3, 2018.

Update 1/2/2018:
LMC biologists are excited to see that Burt Reynolds is swimming south, into warmer waters. In the past four days, Burt Reynolds has traveled about 85 miles south along the coastline and is now off the coast of Port Orange, Florida. With temperatures expected to drop drastically in the next couple of days we are keeping a close eye on the turtle’s movements. Since sea turtles are cold-blooded reptiles, their body temperature is within a few degrees of the waters they inhabit. Therefore, when water temperatures decrease, turtles can become “cold stunned” (a hypothermic reaction) if they don’t move into warmer waters.

Update 10/23/2017:
Burt has slowly traveled north and even went into Georiga waters on October 13. But made it as far north as Cumberland Island, GA. Burt is now just off the coast of Fernandina Beach, Florida and seems to like the area. We will be watching Burt closely as the expected cold front comes through in the next couple of days to see if the water temperatures drop enough to encourage Burt to move south.

Update 9/23/2017:
Burt turned south and headed towards the Bahamas on August 24. Just before reaching the shallow waters of the Bahamas, Burt looped back north. The turtle moved in closer to the coast around Titusville on September 11. Since then, Burt has been hugging the coastline as the turtle travels north and is now located just south of Jacksonville Beach, Florida.

Update 8/22/2017:
Since Burt’s release, the turtle has traveled north along the Atlantic coast of Florida. In six days, the turtle swam from Key West to off the coast of Titusville, Florida. Interestingly, the turtle is making some fairly deep dives to ~500 ft.

Update 8/16/2017:
After consultation with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, US Fish and Wildlife, and LMC’s veterinarian, it was decided that the turtle should be released as far south as possible since olive ridley sea turtles are typically found in Central and South America. Therefore, after a 4.5 hour car ride and a 20 minute boat ride, Burt Reynolds was released off of Key West, Florida on August 16, 2017.

This is the first live stranded olive ridley to be successfully rehabilitated and released in Florida with a satellite transmitter, so where the turtle will go is anyone’s guess. Check back regularly for updates on Burt Reynolds’ travels.


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