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Advice on Injured Eastern Box Turtles

Discussion in 'Turtles' started by ajvw, Jun 25, 2006.

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  1. ajvw

    ajvw Subscribed User

    Somehow the universe has placed in my path two injured box turtles in the span of three days. The first one I found in the road (on the way to the vet, serendipitously enough), and when I went to move it, i saw it had a small bleeding crack along the lower edge of its shell, as well as a very small abrasion on its plastron. So I opted not to release it in the spot it was trying to reach on the other side of the road (which is now being razed for a shopping center -- more on that later).

    The vet's office had their reptile-fanatic vet assistant on duty, and she oohed and ahhed and informed me that the turtle is female. They printed me out a caresheet and advised that I house her indoors for a week or two until her wounds heal (applying Neosporin), because a wildlife rehabilitaor they've spoken with before has said that in the summer especially, releasing a turtle with a wound can be an invitation for flies, resulting in a maggot-infested wound. Ick! So I've got her in a big Rubbermaid tub filled about 6 inches deep with leaf litter from our woods. I've fed her (in a separate container) strawberries and superworms, and she eats with gusto. Her wounds are healing nicely already, and I imagine I could release her next week. The thing is, I can't put her back where I found her, because she won't be safe there. I have learned that box turtles are quite territorial, but I'm hoping that since her original locale isn't an option, she might do OK in my wooded 2.5 acre yard, which has a creek and backs to even more woods. Any advice or opinions?

    The second turtle was in the grass in my back yard this afternoon, after several nights of rain. She (I think -- concave plastron -- the vet's assistant said this is a trait of females) has a badly cracked shell. It's not bleeding or anything, but there are two separate pieces of shell that are maybe 3 square inches each that are free-moving, toward the back. (I'll try to post a photo below this post). She has eaten a small piece of strawberry, and she seems able to walk. At first, I wasn't sure her back legs could protrude due to her injuries, but it seems they can. She does have what might be some kind of infection around her mouth. The tissue there below her "beak" (I don't know the proper terminology) is swollen-looking.

    I'm going to call the vet about this second turtle tomorrow and see if there is anyone who could attempt a shell repair. And if the vet doesn't do it for me, I'll also call a wildlife rehabber. (I'm in Woodbridge, VA, so if anyone has a rehabber or vet to recommend, in case I need one, I'd be grateful.) But I'd still be interested in any feedback or advice or experience anyone has to offer.

    --Amy
     
  2. mshrmheadcharge

    mshrmheadcharge Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

    Sounds like the first one should be ohk to release in a week or so..and yes your backyard should be an Ohk place to do so.As for the second one Im not sure....I may be willing to take him/her if he does need to be rehabbed for a long period of time(long period of time being 2 or more months..as they shouldnt be released back into the wild after being in captivity for so long.)When you get back form the vet post an update so I can see what type of shape hes in please :D
     
  3. ajvw

    ajvw Subscribed User

    Thanks, Savannah. That was quick! I came back to post my photos and you'd already replied!

    This is Turtle #1, the one from the road who's doing great:
    [​IMG]

    This is turtle #2, the one from the back yard with the significant shell injuries:
    [​IMG]

    I'm thinking it may be a dog-caused injury (hopefully not my dog, but...)??

    I'll get back to you once I talk with the folks at the vet's office tomorrow.
     
  4. mshrmheadcharge

    mshrmheadcharge Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

    # 2 does look pretty bad but I dont think its nothing that cant be fixed. And youre more then welcome :D Good luck at the vet tomorrow!
     
  5. DarkMagician207

    DarkMagician207 Elite Member

    ouch! i hope everything goes well at the vet. good luck! number one looks pretty happy though.
     
  6. Redsrevenge

    Redsrevenge Elite Member

    aww, poor toitles =/ I'm glad to see the first one's doing well, and I hope you and the vet have luck with the second.

    Geez, what did that? Must've been a pretty large dog, or something with strong jaws, like a pit bull...
     
  7. mshrmheadcharge

    mshrmheadcharge Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

    I doubt it was a domesticated dog..possibly a fox or something of that sort.
     
  8. ajvw

    ajvw Subscribed User

    We have foxes here. They've been getting bold. I worry about my cat. And possibly about my kids... The foxes are out during the day now, and don't run at the first sight of a human. I think all the development means that they don't have much to eat.

    That said, my dog is a Weimaraner, with pretty big jaws. But she's not much of a hunter, and she's 10 years old now.
     
  9. Moshpitrockchick

    Moshpitrockchick Subscribed User Premium Member

    I have nothing to add other than the fact that #1 looks pretty content with her strawberry and #2 looks like a mess! Keep us updated!
     
  10. ajvw

    ajvw Subscribed User

    Update on Turtle #2: I have located a rehabber willing to take her (?) in. I am planning on returning the turtle to the woods in the back yard when it has healed. I'll post another update when that happy day arrives.

    Turtle # 1 continues to do well and eat like crazy! She'll be released pretty soon.
     
  11. mshrmheadcharge

    mshrmheadcharge Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

  12. furryscaly

    furryscaly Elite Member

    Hmm, are there any other dogs in the area? A weimeraner could probably do that sort of damage if it tried, but I don't think a red fox has the jaws for that, even a hungry one. That's some pretty extensive damage. I've seen what a dog can do to a turtle though, and that one's not that bad considering what it could have been.

    I say good luck to turtle #1 though, and hope #2 is able to recover! :D
     
  13. esbat

    esbat Reptile Rescue Premium Member

    Do you know if the rehab will get it vet care or just rehab on their own? He needs to be apoxy'd and some serious antibiotics. The damage looks more like a car, you need an awful lot of psi to cause that, I have pics of a slider run over by a car and later apoxy'd, it was nasty.
     
  14. ajvw

    ajvw Subscribed User

    I'll give her a call this evening and see what she thinks of the turtle. Other rehabbers I've worked with around here have worked with vets when needed. If she can't arrange that, I don't know what I can do, as I've already dropped the turtle off. I guess I could offer to pay for vet care... I know rehabbers are not only volunteers, but volunteers who pay (sometimes quite dearly) for the opportunity to do so. I left her $20 with the turtle to support her endeavors. :eek:)

    Thanks for your input. I agree that it doesn't look like something that will heal up without epoxy, but I know nothing. Hearing it from someone with a clue supports my guess, though, and I'll do my best to make sure the turtle gets what it needs. I'm a sucker for critters!
     
  15. ajvw

    ajvw Subscribed User

    Well, we let turtle # 1 go free in the woods in our yard yesterday evening. She got to where she spent most of her time struggling to get out of her container, and her wound is healed pretty well (no longer open, just a bit pink). So she's a free turtle again, and hopefully will find a way to be happy out there. Still haven't heard any more about turtle #2...
     
  16. DarkMagician207

    DarkMagician207 Elite Member

    hope turtle 1 does well out there and that turtle 2 pulls through. :)
     
  17. mshrmheadcharge

    mshrmheadcharge Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

    Glad to hear you were able to release #1 and that you found a willing rehabber for #2
     
  18. Jem_Scout

    Jem_Scout Elite Member

    Good job with these two! Let us know how #2 does... :)
     
  19. ajvw

    ajvw Subscribed User

    I talked with the rehabber yesterday, and she says Turtle #2 is ready to come home! She (the turtle) received a series of antibiotic injections, and the vet realigned the cracked plates in her shell and applied a patch. I should be able to pick her up tomorrow and release her in the backyard.
     
  20. DarkMagician207

    DarkMagician207 Elite Member

    thats good news! hope everything continues to go well for turtle 2. make sure to post some pics when you get a chance! :)
     
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