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MARATHON (CBSMiami/FKNB) – A loggerhead turtle as tough as his name sake is back swimming off the Florida Keys.

The sub-adult sea turtle nicknamed “Chuck Norris” was released Monday evening. It was rescued in March 2017 off the Lower Keys by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers after it suffered a severe boat strike.

Officers transported the turtle to the Turtle Hospital in Marathon and told staff there to pick the toughest-sounding name they could, because the reptile had a lot to overcome to get better.

“Chuck Norris” was fitted with orthopedic plates to stabilize its shell.

Additional treatment included broad-spectrum antibiotics, vitamins, and a healthy diet of squid and fish.

Daily wound care included regular debriding and natural honey.

“The good news is that it (the wounds) filled in with fibrous tissue,” said Bette Zirkelbach, manager of The Turtle Hospital. “He beat the odds.”

Marathon’s Turtle Hospital opened more than 30 years ago as the world’s first state-licensed veterinary sea turtle hospital. The facility, equipped with three turtle ambulances for patient transport, has treated, rehabilitated and released more than 2,000 injured sea turtles and assisted scores of hatchlings gone astray after exiting their nests.

The Florida Keys News Bureau contributed to this report.


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