This time of year we find so many turtles! Box turtles, painted turtles, snapping turtles, how can you tell them all apart and what do you do with them?
The number one reason that you’ll find a turtle crossing roads, at the park, or randomly in your driveway, is because once upon a time that outdoor space is where that turtle was born.
Most of our Virginia species of turtles take 15 to 20 years to reach sexual maturity and when they are finally egg bound, they go back to where they came from to lay their eggs. Its a heartbreaking fact that we are paving and building on top of many of these places. If the female turtle doesn’t get to where she wants to get she may not lay the eggs on time. The turtle species are on a huge decline and since humans are the reason for it, we believe its time for humans to help save them.
So what’s the best thing to do?…
- If the turtle is in a safe place (not in the middle of the road) then leave her be. Try to keep kids and dogs away for a couple of hours. That may be all the time it takes for her to lay her eggs. She will lay them deep enough underground that you should not need to worry about hitting them with the lawn mower or anything like that. Occasionally people or dogs will end up digging up a nest. Do you best to just cover them back up if they don’t look damaged. If they do look damaged, give us a call or shoot us an email. It is a high priority of ours to get as many of these babies to hatch due to their declining numbers. Here is a picture of an egg that was dug up on a beach. You can see from the visual perspective how soft these eggs can be, not hard like a chicken egg.
2. If the turtle is in a dangerous place….
A slow turtle crossing the road is a huge problem. You see they don’t realize that cars are coming and they simply won’t stop trying to get somewhere until they arrive. So the WRONG thing to do, is pick up that turtle and take it back to the side of the road that it came from. The CORRECT thing to do is simply pick it up and walk in to the side of the road that it was headed to.
*Do note that if it is a snapping turtle (see picture) then its best to just try and scoot it across with your foot or use a shovel OR just wait and get no where near his head. They can jump (yes jump) and turn their head around to the rear of their body quicker then you can jump away from them.
3. When does the turtle need more help?
Sometimes nature hurts and just like humans, animals need to see a doctor to make it through to a ripe old age. If you find any of these issues with a turtle you find please contact us. PLEASE TAKE NOTE OF WHERE YOU FOUND THIS TURTLE!!! IT IS SO IMPORTANT THAT THEY GO BACK TO WHERE THEY CAME FROM WHEN THEY ARE HEALED!!!
- Hit by car: Please wear gloves and put the turtle into any kind of dark container. Try to not over handle it and get it to your local rehabber or nearest vet clinic ASAP. Sometimes humanely euthanizing is the only kind thing left to do.
- Swollen eyes or ears: Sometimes turtles get little upper respiratory infections just like humans. People just go to the doctor and get antibiotics but long ago that wasn’t an option and people would die. Thank goodness it is an option, not just for us but for turtles too. These guys need to get to a rehabber ASAP. Please take a look at the examples below:
GOOD THINGS TO REMEMBER:
*ALWAYS WASH YOUR HANDS AFTER HANDLING ANY ANIMAL!!!
*NO MATTER THE SPECIES, ANY ANIMAL WITH A MOUTH CAN BITE!!!
*PLEASE DONT TAKE THEM FAR, THESE ANIMALS ARE BORN FREE IN THE WILD AND WANT NOTHING FROM US EXCEPT TO HAVE US LEAVE THEM ALONE SO THEY CAN STAY FREE AND WILD
*SHOOT US AN EMAIL AT OLIVIALOBALBO@AEROANIMALRESCUE.ORG IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS