These are just a few of our rescue cases. For more, please check out our Turtle Talk e-news.
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GWELUP JACK (from Turtle Tales, March 2015)
Our Turtle Taxi member had just returned home from a busy day in the office when she received a call about a turtle found by a little girl in her back garden. The home owners reported that they had had a few problems with large brown cockroaches so when their youngest daughter ran inside excitedly exclaiming that she had found a turtle, they were readying themselves for a very large cockroach. Jack’s young finder obviously knew her biology and her parents were pleasantly surprised to discover a real turtle. Our Turtle Taxi member was treated to some fabulous turtle art-work by Jack’s finder and her big sister and answered lots of questions about turtles. Everyone was pleased to discover that turtles don’t have teeth and that they aren’t poisonous. Initial assessment of Jack was positive; and despite what looked like an old hairline fracture at the rear of his carapace, he appeared healthy and responsive and ready for release to a suitable wetland.
Jack was taken away for a more thorough assessment including weighing, measuring and irrigation of the “old” fracture to determine if it had healed. Irrigation of the fracture site showed that it was fairly recent as there was evidence of fresh blood – this can be very hard to see on a turtle’s dark carapace and especially when the blood has dried. Jack was taken to Wattle Grove Veterinary Hospital where he received a fracture repair from Dr Gary. He is currently recuperating and is expected to make a full recovery and be released back home shortly.
TRUE CONFESSIONS OF A TURTLE TAXI - from Turtle Tales (March 2015)
I’ve just got up and there’s a turtle at my front door!
I was standing in the Goose pen when a hatchling fell out of the sky!
There’s a turtle in my laundry (came in through the cat door) and I’m too scared to pick it up.
I was backing out of my driveway when I spotted the turtle in the rear vision mirror.
There’s a turtle in my fishpond. Will it eat my fish ?
There’s a turtle digging in my lawn.
A turtle came under the back fence.
We’ve been away for the weekend and found a turtle in the carport when we got back
A turtle has appeared in our loading dock. We’re a freight company with lots of big trucks everywhere.
I’ve just found some turtle hatchlings in my swimming pool.
There’s a turtle in my neighbour’s garden.
I rescued a turtle from a highway roundabout. It’s in my bath and I don’t know what to do with it.
The turtle was trying to get under the gate; the missus saw the head and neck and thought it was a snake. You should have heard her scream!
"WILL" (excerpt from Turtle Tales, Sept-Oct 2013)
In a quiet neighbourhood by a pretty little lake Will lay bleeding and badly injured. The victim of a dog attack, this large adult male turtle was helpless and in grave danger until young Josh found him and gently carried him home. After an internet search to obtain our phone number, Will was collected by a TORRN volunteer who immediately phoned the Vet. It was close to closing time but this animal needed urgent medical attention. To everyone’s surprise, the Vet concluded that Will could be saved but would need a lot of intensive care and most probably would lose his right eye.
Today Will is still in home care and has had a few setbacks but continues to fight on. Even though his eye was surgically removed, he has a good chance of survival. The Vet has seen other turtles admitted with only one eye and in good condition indicating that they are able to hunt successfully.
Turtles use echolocation as well as sight to locate their prey and often live in cloudy water where visibility is low, yet they can still find food. As an adult, Will has perfected his hunting skills but will need time to adjust to his disability. A release site has been chosen well away from people, roads and dogs. As soon as Will is able to hunt again he will be released, it’s just a matter of time.
Will’s story continued… (excerpt from Turtle Tales, Nov 2013)
We are happy to report that Will had that most important ingredient in wildlife rehabilitation – the will to live. Good nursing care is of no use unless the animal can survive in a captive situation, long enough to recover from its injuries. Stress is the biggest problem when working with wild animals. It is a judgement call – to go ahead or end any suffering by humane injection. Each day we looked for signs of improvement but turtles do things slowly so you have to be patient.
After a few set-backs, Will turned the corner one day and became the alert, hungry and determined turtle we all hoped he would be. The first sign was a knowing look in his one eye; 8 weeks after a boy named Josh rescued him. Next he began eating chicken liver. This is what we tempt them on when they are too sick to have an appetite. Like most hunters, liver is the first thing they eat as it is rich in nutrients. Up until then Will was being fed a special diet by a stomach tube. After a few near misses he quickly adapted to striking fish using only one eye. Now he was definitely on the mend. He gained weight, strength and attitude – just what we want in a turtle, and was released two weeks later.
FISH HOOK CASES (excerpt from Turtle Tales, December 2014)
We have recently admitted three fish-hooked turtles. Two came to us via Perth Zoo, the other direct to TORRN. This turtle was accidentally hooked by a family who did all the right things – they didn’t cut the line, took the turtle straight home and called us immediately. The victim was one of the biggest turtles we’ve admitted – 1.7kg and with attitude to match. She was in beautiful condition and has been named (aptly as it turns out) Lady Ninja by one very excited little boy-dynamo.
As is the way with these things, Lady Ninja’s accident occurred outside vet hours, late in the day on Sunday. Lady Ninja was taken into care, given pain relief and had the fishing line taped to her neck with a stretchy bandage before being admitted to the vet the next morning where she underwent surgery to remove the hook. She had a small, neat wound at the base of her neck with purple stitches. Fortunately, the hook didn’t travel into the stomach, or the outcome may have been very different.
Her story continues from, Alan, her carer’s perspective....
As the Lady was shredding her food but not eating, I thought she may have had a throat problem as a result of the surgery. After a vet check which found no problem in her throat, she immediately began to eat.
Her weight was dropping by about one gram per day but due to her size, 1600 grams, she was difficult to weigh until we worked out a method to keep her in the vicinity of the scales. Her surgery repaired well both, internally and externally and she was anxiously waiting to return to her home. This Lady was released in the Canning River in the vicinity of her accident with a fish hook.
'Will' on release
'Lady Clare Mont' released by carers Alan and Nic Cook from Friends of Lake Claremont, April 2015