Lucky the Turtle

This is the story of one very lucky turtle...

We were driving down a very busy road right around rush hour. At the last second I saw a turtle in the road. I swerved to miss him and did. Barbara and I always stop to move turtles off the road whenever we see them, and today was no exception. So, I turned around and pulled off the side of the road. I got out of the car, dodged some traffic and scooped up the poor turtle.

When I picked up the little guy, I noticed that he had been hit. He wasn't crushed, nor was he dead, but he was definitely injured. His shell was cracked up his back, and he was missing a couple of pieces from the front of his shell. His undershell had a bit of a crack too. He was bleeding, but not too bad.

I ran back to the car after setting the turtle down on the side of the road. I told Barbara what the situation was and asked her if she thought we should take him home with us. She said that we should, so I grabbed a shirt out of the car, wrapped the turtle up in it, and handed him to Barbara to hold until we got home.

Once home, we took him out back and set him right at the edge of the water. We noticed that he was still bleeding. He wasn't moving either. He was still alive, but we didn't know if he was going to make it or not.

We went inside and called the vet to see if there was anything that could be done. The vet said to get some gause, put it over the wounds, and duct tape it up. So, we did. He told us that if the turtle made it through the night, to bring him in and they would see if they could fix him up.

We had moved him into a box in the shed so that we could monitor him. We checked on him a couple of times before we went to bed, and he was doing OK. The next morning, he was still alive. :)

I had to go to work, so Barbara scooped him up and took him to the vet. The vet said that they were going to repair his shell with some acrylic and monitor him. They said that if he started eating and drinking, that he would be OK. They said to leave him there and they would call us and let us know how the situation was progressing.

We certainly didn't expect to hear back so soon, but they called at about 3:15 in the afternoon and said that they believed that he was going to be just fine. They did repair his shell, and he was eating and drinking. They told Barbara that in most cases that they do pro bono, they don't return the animals to the ones who bring them in. Instead, the vet releases the animal back into the wild themselves. We knew this before hand, and Barbara had taken a picture of our lake with her to let the vet know that we had a great place to release him. Apparently the vet agreed with us, and told us to come pick him up and put him into the lake. I was still at work, so Barbara headed out and picked up the lucky little guy.

I was home when Barbara got back. She showed him to me and let me see the repairs that were made to his shell. I grabbed the camera and started taking some pictures. We then headed around back and set him down close to the water's edge. We took a seat on the dock and waited to make sure that he was going to take off.

Eventually, he popped his head out of his shell and started looking around. He took his time. :) A while later, we saw his front leg come out of his shell. Then he started walking towards the water. The next thing you know, he was in the water and swimming off. It was quite a sight.

I'm sure that he has some healing up to do, but he is in a safe place now. There are no predators out here that he has to worry about, and he has lots of food. He might even run into some other turtles and make some new friends. I think he will like it here. :)

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, here is the story in that format:

We wish you the best Lucky. Have a long and Wonderful life. :)

April 27, 2006