She had a flipper fall off as she was rushed to the hospital. Her shell is scarred by a propeller strike, a big chunk missing from the hind end. And McClellan won't sit still.
The 200-plus pound loggerhead thrashes with her good flipper around the tank at the South Carolina Aquarium, lifting her head out of the water to eye the people watching her and snort derisively. When Kelly Thorvalson, the aquarium's sea turtle rescue program manager, grabs the remaining front flipper to settle the big turtle so she can be treated, Thorvalson ends up in a cross-species version of an arm wrestle.
The loggerhead's strength is pure stubbornness. Aquarium veterinarian Shane Boylan suspects she has a bellyful of eggs. She has come miles to lay a nest of eggs. Injured, crippled, she won't stop.
Staff knew as soon as she came in one recent night that she would make it, flipper or not.
"She's pretty strong," Thorvalson said as she struggled.