Turtle Rescue of Long Island

September 29, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Julie @ 8:51 am

It’s sure been a real long time since I’ve posted to the blog but we’ve had a real busy year. We’ve taken in more turtles and tortoises this year than any other and Sulcata tortoises surely have topped the list this year as the number one surrendered tortoise. They get bigger each year as well as increasing in numbers. I haven’t done a final tally yet but we have taken in over thirty and have about ten more coming in. I sure wish the pet stores would stop selling them. They don’t belong in our climate. They should need to be permitted to keep one since they grow to be so large. Maybe then people would think twice before acquiring one.

Rehabs have been as many as any other year. Hit by car turtles and ear abscess turtles are always coming in. Last year we had the Snapping turtle that had the chemical burns on it’s head, this year we had a large Snapping turtle that was hit by a car and had a big section of shell missing. After a few months of treatment and good care we were able to release her back to the wild.  Here’s how she looked before and after.

Before healing up

Before healing up

Snapping turtle hit by car
Snapping turtle hit by car
They are amazing how well they heal and how quickly the skin heals despite the loss of shell. I’m sure she was happy to get back to the pond.
We also had a Diamondback terrapin that came in with a really nasty hit by car injury where the entire back end of her carapace was broken off. Luckily she was found right away and brought into us and I was able to stabilize the shell while the cells below were still viable and she healed up really well and was also able to be released at the end of summer. She left behind a few eggs that if they hatch will also be released where she was.
Hit by Car Diamondback terrapin
Hit by Car Diamondback terrapin

 

Diamondback terrapin after healing up, prior to release
Diamondback terrapin after healing up, prior to release
It’s always a mixed emotion when releasing these turtles back to the wild. Glad that they have healed so well but also hoping they will stay off the roads and not encounter another vehicle to endure the same awful pain they once suffered.
The turtles with ear abscesses this year were unbelievable. The biggest I’ve seen ever. Normally we suspect when they reach a certain size the abscess will burst on it’s own without being lanced by a rehabber or a vet, however we have gotten in both Eastern box turtles and a Red ear slider with huge abscesses that did not burst and were nearly the size of the turtles heads. I can only imagine the pain these poor turtles were in and can’t help but wonder how many others are out there suffering from these painful infections. Here’s a sample of a couple that we got in that we were able to help and then release when they healed up.

One of the Eastern box turtles that came in.

One of the Eastern box turtles that came in.

RES with huge abscess
RES with huge abscess
Another little box turlte with abscess
Another little box turtle with abscess
These abscess were unbelibably huge and in the case of the RES she required some surgery to have the scar tissue removed because it was so bad. The others healed up well and were released back to the wild after treatment. Several came in, but luckily were all released again.
Then we have all the many Sulcata tortoises that have come in here in awful, horrendous conditions. I cannot emphasize enough that we need to get the information out to not only those that purchase these tortoises, but to the pet stores and to vets who offer info, that the care of these tortoises is not that of an arid environment. They are not meant to be kept on dry sand and fed nothing but romaine lettuce! PLEASE! Spread the info that they need humidity especially as hatchlings. In the wild they spend their time hiding in burrows that have high humidity from them excreting their urine/urates that cause the humidity to get as high as 80%. They don’t spend their days out in the hot sun baking under it, they come out and graze and walk when the day cools and bask when it’s not so hot out. They need exercise and should never be kept in a glass tank. It’s cruel to say the least! Please follow the care info we have set forth here: http://www.turtlerescues.org/sulcata_tortoise.htm  and by all means do not acquire a Sulcata tortoise unless you really have the means and space to care for one. http://www.turtlerescues.org/sulcata_challenge.htm  They have come in here looking so terrible it breaks your heart. We even had one die on us right after coming in this year from impaction. It’s intestine was filled with gravel. They eat what they are kept on and if not well hydrated they will become impacted and stop eating and passing feces and eventually die. Symptoms include loss of appetite, not walking and not pooping. If you get a tortoise, know it’s needs. This should never happen to a tortoise: no-sulcata-should-look-like-this This is what a healthy Sulcata looks like. No lumps, no bumps. Stop the pyramiding! Take care of your tortoise! sulcata-sam-compressed
With the fall temps upon us it’s winding down except for the surrendering of Sulcata tortoises. We’re still getting calls for them. If you live in the south and have the room and a big heart and would like to adopt one or two please submit an application through our website. We’re always looking for good homes. But please know how to properly care for them. They don’t need much. Graze, shelter and lots of exercise.
  

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