Florida box turtle carrying eggs suffers injuries from car strike
By Joanna Fitzgerald | Director of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital
The Florida box turtle, one of 123 patients admitted to the wildlife hospital this week, was found in Estero on Highway 41 after being struck by a vehicle. Six gopher tortoises were admitted last week, all hit by cars. Two of the gopher tortoises were so badly injured they did not survive.
The box turtle sustained scrapes on her plastron, ankles and plantar surfaces of her feet as she was scraped across the road. The box turtle also showed signs of previous injuries to her lower jaw that had already healed. A radiograph also revealed the turtle was gravid (carrying eggs).
The box turtle required a course of antibiotics and is currently recovering in the reptile room at the von Arx Wildlife Hospital.
Please, if you are driving and see a turtle or tortoise attempting to cross the road, offer assistance if you can do so safely. If you help a turtle and it is uninjured, place it out of harm’s way in the direction it was headed. If the turtle is injured, do not attempt to provide medical treatment. Transport the turtle to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital immediately. Turtles feel pain and require the same professional veterinary care as any other species of injured wildlife.
Always call the staff at the Wildlife Hospital for assistance if you are unsure of how to best help an animal in need. Staff will assess the situation and determine the appropriate course of action that will keep you safe while ensuring the animal receives care needed.
A northern waterthrush, a striped mud turtle, a diamondback terrapin, a big brown bat, nine eastern cottontails, five mourning doves, a marsh rabbit, three raccoons, a gopher tortoise, a common ground dove, and three grey squirrels were released this past week.
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Joanna Fitzgerald is director of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. Call 239–262–2273 or see conservancy.org.