Archive for November, 2007

The trouble with turtles [updated]

November 1st, 2007 No comments

The other day, on my way to work, I noticed a turtle crossing the road besides our house. There are a few turtles that live in our yard—we see them from time to time, and I thought this might be one of them, coming home from cruising for lady turtles in the neighborhood.

I am a fan of turtles, and try to help them cross streets when I can. Today was a little different though—when I picked up this particular Eastern Box Turtle, it only pulled three of its legs into its shell, rather than all four.

I knew something was amiss for this little guy, and suspected he has had a close encounter with a car, though he didn’t seem to be in bad condition otherwise. Turtle shells are tough, but a car can really squash them if they get run over.

Since it was pointed toward our yard when I picked it up, I figured I would help it along, and put it on a pile of pine straw, figuring to check on it when I got home from work, if it didn’t travel very far. When I next checked, it had burrowed under the pine straw, which was good, but it still had the gimpy leg, which was bad.

The next morning the turtle was in the same spot, in the same condition—it was alive, but did not pull one leg into its shell. Suzanne was a softy, and called a veterinarian friend to see about bringing the turtle in for a visit.

While I am a fan of turtles, this was not a member of our family—we had just met—and I was willing to be a witness to the circle of life. I had a fear of an enormous vet bill, and warned Suzanne that this was not to turn out to be the six million, six thousand, or even six hundred dollar turtle.

Lucky for us, Suzanne’s friend referred us to the Piedmont Wildlife Center. Previously unknown to both of us, the center operates a hospital catering to individual animals of native wildlife species that are sick, injured or orphaned. Best of all, the hospital was very close to our house, and my office.

So about a day after its close encounter, the turtle took a trip to the Piedmont Wildlife Center. The initial diagnosis was a broken leg, and the center staff will see what they can do to rehabilitate the little guy, so it can be released back in the wilds of Durham.

Updated November 12th

We received an update on the turtle from PWC this afternoon.

Thanks for checking in on the turtle. He is doing ok, though he has a hind leg injury and an eye injury, so the prognosis is guarded. He is on pain medication and antibiotics throughout treatment. Please feel free to check in on him again in a few days to see how he progresses.

As always, thank you again for caring about our local wildlife!

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