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ISLAMORADA (CBSMiami/AP) — A sea turtle that had an unwanted passenger removed is back in the ocean.

A loggerhead sea turtle required surgery to remove a 2-foot-long eel from its body cavity. It has since been released back into the waters off the Florida Keys.

The turtle named “Shelmore” was returned to the ocean Saturday off Islamorada not far from the spot where it was discovered in September, floating and unable to dive.

Veterinarians said the eel had eaten through the turtle’s intestinal tract to get to the body cavity before dying.

Turtle Hospital veterinarian Brooke Burkhalter performed a three-hour procedure to remove a dead goldspotted eel from the critically ill turtle.

It’s not clear why the turtle ate the eel, which is not a normal part of the reptile’s diet.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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