CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Funyun the seahorse is back at home after staff from the Clearwater Marine Aquarium performed life-saving surgery and then freed her Monday near sea grass off of Caladesi Island.
Funyun -- named after the onion-flavored ring snack that she resembles -- was found by Ohio tourists after a storm near Indian Rocks Beach, according to Bill Potts, chief marketing officer for the aquarium. At first they thought they found a seashell, but then noticed she was breathing. They tried to revive her by placing her back in the water, but she just floated instead of swimming.
The tourists searched online for help and found a story about Cheeto, another seahorse rehabilitated and released by the Clearwater aquarium. They brought her to the aquarium on May 23.
Aquarium staff took X-rays and found that Funyun had an overinflated swim bladder. Potts added that the surgery was tricky because she could be out of the water for only a short time.
It did not take long after the surgery for Funyun to get back to enjoying life.
"She was eating like she was at a Sunday buffet," Potts said. "Her odds of survival were zero without coming here."
"Some people say all that work for one seahorse, but that shows the heart we have here," Potts said.
Funyun now is eating shrimp and plankton while the sea grass gives her cover from predators.
Seahorses live about four years, according to Potts, and have only one mate. They also can change their color to blend into the surroundings.