Storm Upheaves Wounded Turtle
By Jennifer Taylor, Animal Care Coordinator
A gracious Thank You to Glenn Ephraim who donated all the supplies to build this turtle pen! # 45 loves it and we are sure all our turtle patients will as well. Thank you again!!
This March, landscapers discovered an Eastern Box Turtle at the base of a tree recently uprooted from a storm. The weather was still as cold as winter, so the landscapers called us for advice. We told them to bring it in so we could check it out. It was a large adult turtle that was encrusted in mud and muck. Eastern Box Turtles bury themselves in leaf litter and soil in the late fall to overwinter. They go into a state of inactivity called brumation, for a few months and start becoming active around May. This guy’s slumber was disturbed. After examining the turtle and getting through all the caked-on soil, we discovered it was missing a back leg and the skin had wounds. Our x-rays showed that the leg bones were gone in one leg. It had happened before the winter. We can assume it was from some kind of animal attack. Baby turtles are a favorite food of many animals. Adult box turtles often get chewed on by dogs and other animals, while they are boxed up tight.
After a course of antibiotics, NSAIDs, some minor surgery by Dr. Priya Patel, and honey bandages – this turtle recovered well! With the weather finally warming up, Amy Webster, one of our Wildlife Rehabilitator’s, set up an obstacle course in our new Turtle Pen so this turtle could exercise and strengthen her three legs. We also needed to be sure she could right herself if she tipped over onto her back. She passed with flying colors and was released by the end of May. I guess all those winter storms were good for something!
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Wild Care has a state-of-the-art seabird therapy pool, which allows seabirds and waterfowl to exercise on running water. This will help our bird friends recover more quickly so they can get back to their watery habitats!