By Bruce Mounster
A wayward young turtle, a long way from its usual home, spent four days convalescing in a Hobart bathroom this week.
The bathroom belongs to the State Government's Marine Conservation Program leader Rosemary Gales.
The endangered loggerhead turtle, believed to have strayed from tropical Queensland waters, was found on Howrah Beach last Saturday.
Ms Gales said the turtle was "a teenager" weighing about 10kg, with a 50cm-long shell. The species can grow to 160kg.
She said the turtle was found "extremely cold and lethargic" by a member of the public who moved it to a safe place and phoned the whale hotline.
Ms Gales and colleague David Pemberton put it in a tub, resting on an electric blanket, on Ms Gales' bathroom floor.
The blanket was used to slowly re-warm the turtle to 22C.
Ms Gales said that as it warmed up the "bizarre-looking animal" settled in comfortably, flapping around and vocalising.
Rehydrated and fortified with antibiotics, the turtle was flown to the Melbourne Aquarium for specialist care on Thursday.
Ms Gales said skin samples were taken for DNA analysis to make sure the turtle had swum from Queensland, not northern Western Australia where Australia's only other known population resides.
"Once the turtle has made a full recovery, it will be released to an appropriate location," she said.
The hotline for whales and other distressed marine animals is 0427 942 537.