Rehabilitated green turtle released at Bradenton Beach

BRADENTON BEACH -- "Mate," a juvenile green turtle that nearly died during the prolong cold snap in March after suffering a fractured skull, was returned to the wild about 7:30 a.m. today.

A boat is believed to have hit Mate in March as it sunned itself in Longboat Pass, near where it was returned to the water.

Lynne Byrd, medical care coordinator for Mote Marine, said "little guys" like Mate tend to stay in the bay, rather than the open sea.

Mate is believed to be between two and 10 years old. Scientists are unable to tell the gender of juvenile green turtles, but say Mate could live to be about 80, and weigh 400 pounds.

As Mote intern Brittany Childs picked the little turtle up and walked it toward the water, Mate furiously flapped its flippers.

When she eased Mate into the water, it splashed quickly away.