Turtle Rescue of Long Island

June 28, 2008

Winter/Spring June 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Julie @ 3:57 pm

As usual I have good intentions of keeping up with the blog but never seem to get around to it. So now I’ll try to joggle my memory to see if I can remember some of what has gone on here since the fall when I last posted.

As stated in the blog last entry, the RES are still a big problem with placing. I have had offers from several people out of state to release them in ponds where they are native so this is an option, but some people just don’t like that option. So for those I just keep a waiting list and place as I can in the few homes we do get for sliders.

Back in January I had a Redfoot tortoise come in here for placement. I swear this had to be the driest tortoise I have ever seen in my life. I named him Dusty because the dust was so thick on him it took literally weeks of soaking and brushing to get the dust off that poor guys shell. It was actually imbedded it was so bad. Kept in a tank with a heat mat AND a 160 watt uv/heat lamp. That poor tort was cooking in there. Amazing what they endure and still survive. He didn’t know what to do with a good meal when he got here but after weaning him off those awful colorful tortoise pellets I’m happy to say he left here eating nutritious greens, fruits, bugs, worms and shrimp like a Redfoot should and is now residing in a great home with a great tort keeper.

I had a few Sulcata residents for the winter. It’s always fun cleaning up poop like that of a horse (NOT). And having that hay makes the basement smell like a barn to go with that poop, so some may walk in and think we’re living in a barn, although it is in our basement. But fortunately the bigger of the Sulcata got a ride down to Florida In February so that only left a smaller twenty pounder and a another smaller one.

I got in a cute little Russian tortoise from one of the local nature centers in November, which was found at a beach here on Long Island. His tail was totally mutilated from the cloaca to the tip. The vet could not do anything for it because there was nothing to work with. So I took him home and did the best I could with keeping the wound clean and keeping him as comfy as I could. The little guy survived. My grandson named him Booboo tail, and he has been called Booboo since. He was supposed to go to an adopter upstate NY. They had built a great tort table for him, got all his supplies, bought the RT seed mix from www.carolinapetsupply.com and got it growing. All was set and the family was going to get the tortoise at the reptile expo in April. Then a tragedy. Fire ripped through their home while they weren’t home destroying everything, so Booboo could no longer be adopted by them. I felt awful for the family, but glad nobody got hurt. I adopted Booboo to another family but after about a month or so he was back with us because he wasn’t eating well and wasn’t acting like his normal self. So Booboo is still with me. Now living with my group of tortoises. He’s just the cutest little thing and really thrives here so I’m really hoping that the original family will one day be able to adopt him again.

Then in February came another Sulcata. One that could break your heart just looking at him he was in such awful shape. Remember Toby? This one is worse. There’s a short video clip of this one here: http://www.turtlerescues.org/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=4903
One of the worst cases of poor diet, poor habitat , lack of uvb, lack of humidity just lack of good care. The owner had brought him to a vet where they began treating him for MBD (metabolic bone disease) by giving injections of calcium and vitamin A. Luckily there were only four of these injections given before the owner got in touch with me and got the turtle out of there. The vet wanted to continue this for two weeks.Two weeks of vitamin A shots surely would have had this tortoises skin sloughing off his bones. His diet was spring mix and carrots according to the previous owner. If the vet had bothered to ask he would have known there was no vitamin A deficiency. After about a month of having the tortoise here and him not eating and having a terrible time trying to walk a lightbulb went off and I began to wonder if he could possibly have a blockage, rather than his not pooping being from not eating, and his difficulty of walking being from the MBD. If the vet had done an xray upon seeing this tortoise he would have seen the blockage that my vet saw when I brought him in. There is was, plain as day, intestinal blockage. All that time wasted with not trying to treat the blockage. I tried everything to get this tortoise to poop, and back to the vet two more times for xrays at three week intervals with not much progress. Four months later, finally, a little bit of poop has finally begun to leak out. Nothing like it should, but we are making progress and I am now a bit more hopeful that this amazing tortoise is on the mend and will survive. He is even now eating a bit of grass, on his own!

In February, Newsday featured a photo of one of the Leopard tortoises that had come through the rescue in their paper. I submitted the picture for the heck of it and was real surprised when they picked it. They ran a short bit about the rescue. It was nice.

We’ve already had several other Sulcata come and go. But we also have had some other beautiful tortoises. A gentleman whom I felt terrible for had to give up six of his very long term captive tortoises. One absolutely beautiful Burmese black mountain tortoise seen here: http://www.turtlerescues.org/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=5247 The owner had her for over 35 years. He also had to give up his Redfoot that he also had for that long and I’ve never seen a more beautiful, perfectly smooth Redfoot tortoise. His other tortoises were two 20+ year old Sulcata tortoises and 20+ year old Leopard tortoises. It sure was a sad day for him but made me glad I do what I do and was able to find great homes for all of his tortoises. I’m sure our DHL driver is glad the big guys are few and far between. Those were some real heavy totes I shipped.

The usual barage of box turtles have been coming in. Mostly with ear abscesses and most are being released fortunately. Have one Eastern box turtle here now who’s eye was popped out. That was a first for me and not an easy one to deal with but the turtle and I got through it and she is on the mend and will get released with her one good eye. She’s an old girl and I’m sure will be happy to be back in the wild where she belongs. You can see photo’s of her before and after here: http://www.turtlerescues.org/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=1135&g2_page=5&g2_navId=xb859bd52
I’m happy to report that she was released on 7/19/08 where she was found. Also released back to the area where it was found was the little chewed up boxie that came in last fall. That little turtle healed up really well and was eating like there was no tomorrow. I’m sure that one will be a long time survivor.

I have another one here now that was presumably hit by a car. This one had to be wired up because of so many bad cracks so I sure hope he makes it. Pictures can be seen on page 19 and 20 of the Rescues/Rehabs album:

I finally got all those that dropped off injured box turtles last fall to pick up the healed box turtles to return them to their place of origin. Except one, and that one we are releasing tomorrow because I found out where it was found and it’s close to a safe place that’s good for release. One turtle was here for eight months! I finally had to threaten to adopt the turtle out to get the people to come and get her. People don’t realize that I don’t get paid for this job. I do this on my own time with my own resources and space is limited. It’s so frustrating for me to take in these turtles and not know where to release them, so from now on unless the person can tell me where they came from, they will not be contacted for release, they are surrendered to us and that’s it. Our funds are very limited and for someone to assume it’s okay for me to keep a turtle for eight months and care for it until they are ready to take it back is a bit too much. That won’t happen again. I’m sure they are clueless as to how rescues work, but it’s no excuse.

Now I’d like to give a great applaud to the staff of Petco for really going above and beyond for one very itty bitty teeny tiny little turtle. A hatchling Diamondback terrapin that someone found on a beach on Long Island, brought back to New Jersey, thought it was a sea turtle and brought it to a Petco where they left it. In New Jersey it is against the law to sell turtles so Petco could not keep this turtle in the store, but they were more concerned with getting it back to where it belonged, Long Island. I was contacted by one of the store managers, Jennifer, asking if I could help. Of course we (as in hubby) would be sure to get that little hatchling back to the brackish waters of Long Island where it belongs. Trying to get it back to Long Island was the tricky part, but Petco’s regional manager, Scott Coleman of Rhode Island really went above and beyond for this little turtle. He drove all the way from Rhode Island to New Jersey and then to Long Island and I met him at the Selden Petco where I picked up this little hatchling. I’ve got him here getting him acclimated to some brackish water and likely tomorrow he’ll be on his way to living in the wild again where he should be. All too often I get contacted by people that find these little hatchlings and they hold onto them thinking they are doing the right thing, but I’ve got several that I can show you that will prove taking them from the wild is the worst thing you can do. One I’m trying to help now is likely not going to make it. Suffering from MBD and what appears to be renal failure. So sad to see them suffer like this all because someone thought they could keep a wild turtle as a pet. If you find a turtle, let it go.
As for Petco, kudos to Scott Coleman and Jennifer for getting this little hatchling to us so we can get it back to where it belongs so it can live the life it should live. Thank You! You did a great thing. You can see a photo of this little hatchling here: http://www.turtlerescues.org/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=5289&g2_navId=xd610d1a8

Our TRLI BBQ will be held at Steve’s house this year. Anyone looking to join us just email for directions and RSVP by July 12th. Looking forward to another great day with good friends and good company.

Hope everyone is off to a great start for summer. Enjoy and I’ll try to post again before winter gets here, but if I know me it will be Christmas before I get in here again. Our fall fundraiser will be held in November, and for a peek at our grand prize look here, it’s such a tease:
http://www.turtlerescues.org/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=5033 Another beautiful quilt being donated by Sue Hodge. I can’t wait to see it up close. Sue is an absolutely fantastic quilter.

Have a great summer everyone!



  1. I recently adopted a RES, she was kept in gravel which I have removed from her tank. She did not poop for an entire month! After waiting and waiting I have seen small amounts come out. My problem is, sometimes I walk into the room and a HUGE piece of poop is coming out. (She is about 5 inches long and this poop is easily the size of a quarter or larger!) It seems like such a struggle for her that eventually she just gives up and it goes back in. I’ve tried reaching in with the net to try to at least break off the piece hanging out of her..but obviously this scares her and again the poop goes back in. Should I just have a little more patience to wait and see if this huge chunk will pass? I’m getting so worried. She has proper set up, a 40 gallon tank, heater, UVB light, and basking platform. What can I feed to induce a good poop?! Please help.

    Comment by Amanda — January 28, 2011 @ 11:26 pm

  2. Are you sure what you have isn’t a male and that’s his penis? Seems odd that the turtle would retract a poop, but they often will ‘flash’ their penis and that they will retract. How old is the turtle? Five inches would be a mature size for a male.

    Comment by Julie — January 29, 2011 @ 9:18 am

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