Florida softshell hatchling found on driveway

By Joanna Fitzgerald | Director of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital

A Florida softshell turtle was among the 53 animals admitted to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida last week. Other admissions include a black skimmer, a Cooper’s hawk, a great egret and eight gray squirrels.

If you find an animal you believe is need of assistance please provide assistance, especially if the animal is in imminent danger. If you are unsure, always call the wildlife hospital at 239–262-CARE for information. We can evaluate the situation and determine the appropriate course of action.

The Florida softshell turtle was found in a driveway and the rescuer thought the hatchling didn’t look quite right. She texted a photo of the turtle to hospital staff so we could try and determine if the baby was in need of assistance. The photo was inconclusive, so we advised the woman to bring the hatchling in.

We tend to err on the side of caution when unsure if an animal truly needs help or not.

The hatchling arrived and a physical exam showed part of the yolk sac from the egg was still attached to the turtle. The turtle was alert and active and placed in a water habitat in the reptile room. Although the turtle is exhibiting appropriate behavior and is gaining strength, it is having difficulty diving when placed in deep water. The turtle will continue to recover in the reptile room.

This turtle was found in a situation that required the rescuer to take immediate action. If you find an animal you believe is need of assistance please provide assistance, especially if the animal is in imminent danger. If you are unsure, always call the wildlife hospital for information. We can evaluate the situation and determine the appropriate course of action.

Recent Releases — 20 Animals Returned Home

  • 1 chimney swift
  • 1 eastern cottontail
  • 1 mourning dove
  • 1 blue jay
  • 1 eastern screech owl
  • 1 Florida red-bellied turtle
  • 1 Virginia opossum
  • 1 burrowing owl
  • 1 red-bellied woodpecker
  • 1 peninsula cooter
  • 1 gopher tortoise
  • 9 northern mockingbirds

Opportunities to Help

Please visit the Conservancy website at www.conservancy.org to view all of the amazing volunteer opportunities at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. Volunteers are needed more than ever during our incredibly busy summer season. Your volunteer time, memberships and donations are vital in helping us continue our work to protect Southwest Florida’s water, land, wildlife and future.

Joanna Fitzgerald is director of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. Call 239–262–2273 or see conservancy.org.

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