Bog Turtle #19-0945

Admitted
May 14, 2019
Released
July 8, 2019
Rescue Location
Southwestern part of Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Hit by vehicle
Status
Former Patient
Patient photo

Last Updated Jump to patient updates

On May 13, an adult male Bog Turtle was found by a road in southwest Virginia. The turtle was taken to the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center of Roanoke to be stabilized and was transferred to the Wildlife Center the following day.

This species of turtle is federally threatened and state-endangered; the last Bog Turtle the Center treated was back in 2012, from the same part of Virginia. Bog Turtles are the smallest freshwater turtle in Virginia; adults typically average about 4 inches in length. Adults have dark colored shells which are typically rough at first, though often become smooth over the years from so much burrowing. Bog Turtles have a noticeable orange or yellow blotch behind each eye. In Virginia, Bog Turtles are only found in four counties in the southwestern part of the state.

The turtle had fractures on his carapace (upper shell) and left bridge (side of the shell), though fortunately, the fractures were well-aligned. Dr. Karra, the Center’s veterinary intern, applied metal bars to the turtle’s shell to help stabilize the fractures as they heal. Each day, the team carefully checks the fracture site to ensure there are no signs of infection.

As long as the fractures heal well, the turtle should be able to be released in his home habitat later this summer.

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Patient Updates

Last week, Dr. Peach coordinated the release of Bog Turtle #19-0945 with biologists from the National Park Service and Virginia Tech who are researching this species of threatened turtle. On Monday, July 9, the turtle was returned to a wetland in his initial area of rescue. Thanks to the biologists for providing photos and video of the release!

 

On June 27, the veterinary team checked the bars on Bog Turtle #19-0945’s shell, and determined that the shell fracture had healed nicely, and that the bars could be removed. On July 1, a blood sample was drawn for analysis; the technician team found that blood work was within normal limits, and the staff could start planning for the turtle’s release.

The staff will coordinate the release with the biologist and Virginia Tech professor who were involved with this turtle’s rescue and transportation.

Bog Turtle #19-0945 has been doing well while recovering from his shell fracture; the turtle is alert and eating well. Each week, the Center veterinarians check the turtle’s fracture and stabilizing bars. If the fracture appears to be healed at the weekly check on June 27, the veterinary team may remove some or all of the bars.

Bog Turtle #19-0945 is healing well; the veterinary team has been happy to report that the turtle’s bars are intact and stable, and there has been no sign of infection at the site of the shell fractures. Last week, the rehabilitation staff introduced the turtle to a “boggier” enclosure; since the wounds are healing well, the turtle could be moved from a newspaper-based substrate to a more natural damp bark and water substrate.

Wildlife rehabilitator Kelsey reported that the bog turtle was quick to take advantage of the borrowing opportunities in this set-up, and appears to enjoy eating.