By Joanna Fitzgerald
Director of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital
A Florida red-bellied turtle and two ovenbirds were among the 54 animals admitted to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida this past week. Other admissions include a common tern, a mourning dove, and a Florida snapping turtle.
The Florida red-bellied turtle was rescued after she was hit by a car. Although the turtle was alert and responsive when admitted, she did suffer a fracture to her plastron (lower shell). Currently, the turtle is recovering in the reptile room at the wildlife hospital; she is receiving antibiotics and pain medication and has her fracture site is disinfected daily.
Attempting to cross roads is very hazardous for turtles. Whether they are crossing roads to find food, appropriate nesting locations or simply to just move from one water source to another it puts them in harm’s way.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
If you encounter a turtle attempting to cross the road please safely pull over and offer assistance if possible.
If the turtle is uninjured, place it out of danger in the direction it was headed.
If the turtle is injured please bring it to the wildlife hospital for immediate medical assistance.
When picking up a turtle it is best to cover its head and body with a towel or T-shirt. The turtle will not like the feel of the towel touching its body so it will be more likely to pull its head and legs.
Never put a turtle directly in a lake or pond, instead place it near the edge of the water.
Misidentification of turtle species is very common and if a land turtle is put in the water it may drown. Call the staff at the wildlife hospital for guidance if you have any questions.
Releases —27 go home
- 2 peninsula cooters
- 4 eastern cottontails
- 1 striped mud turtle
- 2 black and white warblers
- 1 common tern
- 4 mourning doves
- 1 red-bellied woodpecker
- 3 northern mockingbirds
- 1 northern cardinal
- 1 Virginia opossum
- 2 mottled ducks
- 4 raccoons
- 1 Florida box turtle
Please visit our website at www.conservancy.org and learn about the many opportunities there are to get involved.
Volunteers are vital in our efforts to assist native wildlife.
However you choose to become involved, your support will help the Conservancy continue to protect Southwest Florida’s water, land, wildlife and future.