- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Stephen Lyn Bales, editor

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Dented box turtle was well on the way to healing himself

Dented box turtle was last seen hightailing it into these woods

“Nature seemed to be doing a pretty good job on her own,” said Ijams staff veterinarian Dr. Louise Conrad.

As it turns out, the rescued injured box turtle I reported on a few days ago did NOT need to be rescued.

Visitors at the nature center found him on one of our trails with a dent in his carapace. That was alarming. Dr. Louise promptly took him to the University of Tennessee Veterinary Hospital for x-rays, blood work and observation.

The blood tests turned up no infection or parasites; in fact, the results were that of a totally healthy box turtle. X-rays determined that the injury was an old one and the shell was well on the way to knitting itself back together. And there was no apparent penetration of the internal body cavity at the time of the injury.

The turtle will always have a dented shell, just like you if you broke your leg and did not go to a doctor to have it set properly, it would grow back crooked. That’s the way nature works.

Often animals that appear to be injured or orphaned simply do not need human interference. Baby birds that fall out of nests are found and fed by their parents, even on the ground. And a clutch of baby bunnies found in the tall grass simply needs to be left alone, mom is just away but she’ll be back.

On the other hand, any obviously injured animal should to be taken directly to UT Vet Hospital on Neyland Drive. There are veterinarians there 24-hours a day, seven days a week. UT’s Wild Animal Rescue program is a free service, but it is costly. If you would like to donate money to help them defray costs, click: Wild Animal Medical Treatment

Ijams is not permitted to treat injured animals, but we are permitted by TWRA to adopt an animal that cannot heal well enough to be returned to the wild. We currently are caring for an opossum with a lame front leg, two half-blind owls, four other birds with wing injuries including a turkey vulture that was hit by a truck in North Carolina, plus many others including three box turtles. Their care is also expensive. If you would like to donate to our Animal Care Fund, click Ijams Donation and choose the “Donate Online” option. In the comment box write “Animal Care.”

Ijams has complete faith in the goodness of humanity. And the concern over this poor turtle underscores that faith. Our original post has garnered over 55,000 views and over 160 comments. Yes, some unknown person probably caused the turtle’s injury; but he/she represents a tiny minority.

So, what about the dented box turtle? He has been returned to the woods, his home. Being in the hospital must have been scary. The last time we saw him he was “high-tailing” it—awkward for a critter whose tail is less than an inch off the ground—into the woods. (See above photo.)

Thank you for all your well wishes!

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