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Sea turtles stranding on Mass. shores at brisk pace; culprits are high winds, Cape's geography

Sea turtle strandings in Massachusetts' Cape Cod Bay are so common that the phenomenon has its own season. But the brisk rate at which the cold-stunned turtles are washing ashore this year has packed a local rescue hospital.

As of Saturday, 221 turtles had been stranded this fall. That already exceeds the range of 50 to 200 that typically are stranded from October to December.

The numbers have pushed the New England Aquarium's Animal Care Center over its turtle capacity a few times, and more than two dozen were flown to a Florida to relieve the crowding.

The cold-blooded animals become immobile when the temperature drops too low. And the geography of the Cape, which hooks well into the ocean, acts as a natural turtle trap.

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