While driving to the Sunshine Coast for the weekend, we took the scenic route past Somerset Dam through to Kilcoy. While driving, we spotted a turtle on the middle of the other side of the road. I have a habit of moving turtles and all wildlife off the road in the direction they were travelling to avoid disaster so we pulled over. Unfortunately for this poor Broad-shelled Turtle (Chelodina expansa) we found that it had clearly just recently been already hit by a car and the back of it's shell had been crushed.
I know a turtle carer in Toowoomba who has had great success repairing shells of turtles and this one looked like it might be possible to fix. Not knowing anyone in the Kilcoy area I rang the RSPCA Wildlife helpline on 1300 ANIMAL and found that all vets were closed and there weren't any carers in the vicinity with knowledge, so I then rang the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital, having been there before, new it was on the way and they would definitely have the resources to help this turtle, which of course they said they were happy to take it. I took a photo of the area also using my Theodolite App on my phone to record the exact long/lat that the turtle was found for the hospital records. There were water sources on both sides of the road.
I picked it up carefully and we wrapped it up in a towel as it was bleeding quite profusely and then took it straight to the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital at Beerwah on the Sunshine Coast, where the staff took it straight away to be looked over by the veterinarians.
|Injured Broad-shelled Turtle (Chelodina expansa)|
|Injured Broad-shelled Turtle (Chelodina expansa) before treatment|
UPDATE: The next week I rang the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital to find out how the turtle went and was thrilled to find out that after it had had it's x-rays they not only found that the shell could be repaired, but that the turtle was a female and was carrying eggs, ready to lay!! They told me that she would have been on her way to lay the eggs at the time she was hit. On the day I rang, she had already laid one of the eggs, which had been placed into an incubator. They told me that all eggs would be incubated and then the turtles raised and released back into the wild. The female turtle had a full shell repair and would be passed onto another carer to release back at the location it was found. I couldn't have hoped for a better outcome!
I can't speak highly enough for the resources and expert staff at Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital. South-East Queensland would be lost without this amazing facility, that treats everything from a green tree frog to a large bird of prey. In June alone they treated 284 wildlife patients! More information about the hospital here: http://wildlifewarriors.org.au/conservation-projects/australia-zoo-wildlife-hospital/