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'She’s spoilt rotten' - Turtle from Gran Canaries washed up on Galway beach is recovering in Irish aquarium before flight home

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Marine biologist Louise Overy from Dingle Oceanworld aquarium gives Mara the the loggerhead turtle a medical check up with the help of aquarium staff member Michelle ODubhda. Photo: Domnick Walsh

Marine biologist Louise Overy from Dingle Oceanworld aquarium gives Mara the the loggerhead turtle a medical check up with the help of aquarium staff member Michelle ODubhda. Photo: Domnick Walsh

Marine biologist Louise Overy from Dingle Oceanworld aquarium gives Mara the the loggerhead turtle a medical check up with the help of aquarium staff member Michelle ODubhda. Photo: Domnick Walsh

Jellyfish cakes, squid and sprat are all on the menu for a turtle that is being "spoilt rotten" since she was discovered on a Galway beach after storms carried her away from the Canaries.

The reptile was discovered at Dolans beach, Roundstone, Galway in September. Experts believe that the turtle, now called Mara, was carried away by a storm while attempting to leave the Saragossa Sea for the Canaries.

Mara, who is believed to be between three- to five-years-old, was brought to the Western Veterinary in Clifden where she was treated for hypothermia.

She is now being "spoilt rotten" at Dingle Oceanworld, where animal manager Louise Overy is feeding her tasty treats such as gelatin cakes made to look like jellyfish, as well as squid and sprat.

“This is the second one that’s kind of washed up in the north part of Ireland. We just think she might have gotten a bit carried away. One of the big storms might have pulled her in," she said.

"The water was 15 degrees, which is just on the cold side. They can normally handle down to about 16 but then for a baby like her, 16 would probably be quite cold.

“We’re thinking she's three to five years old, but it could be three to seven, depending on how much food she’s had throughout her life.

"We’ve got a lot of turtles over the years and a lot of them had pneumonia, hypothermia, lots of cold-related things. Once we warmed her up, she was fit as a fiddle really, we didn’t have to treat her at all.

“She’s done really well. She’s eating sprat and squid, and we make up little gelatin cakes. They look like jellyfish, so we stick them onto the side of the tank. She’s spoilt rotten.”

However, Mara's holiday to Ireland will soon come to an end - Ryanair have offered her a seat on a flight to Gran Canaria, where she will be checked out in the Aquarium Turtle Hospital before being released back into the water.

“We have taken a DNA sample and we will find out where she’s from. She’s still here at the minute. We’re looking at flying her home in November. Ryanair have been very good to offer her a seat on one of their planes to Gran Canaria because there’s a turtle hospital down there.

“She’s going to go and get double-checked after the flight, that she doesn’t need a couple of days or anything before her release. They’re going to take her out by boat and pop her out where they know there’s turtles."

Online Editors