08 September 2008

Unexpected Houseguests

Now that summer has passed, I've signed on to pick up a few more Sunday day shifts for a bit of extra income. Today was a fairly busy one that included this rather surprising arrival:

090708Box_turtle 001

Eastern box turtles are actually an endangered species in this state and this one, a female, just happened to be found at the corner of a busy intersection in downtown Portland. She probably didn't stumble into town from the wilds, though. Far more likely that she was being kept in captivity, which is illegal here due to their state endangered status, and either escaped or was released.

Although the chances are that she was caught somewhere down South, where they are far more plentiful, the fact that she's in this state now meant that I needed to try to contact someone from the state. So I called the state's Endangered Species Program office and, unsurprisingly, got a voice mailbox.

Fortunately, I just happen to know someone, who just happened to know whom to bug (only a little bit) on his day off. A couple phone calls and e-mails later, we sorted out a game plan for communicating about a hand-off after the weekend and I decided it would be easier to bring her home with me, in case it meant driving her up to Augusta (on my day off, though I can use it as an excuse to go see my mom).

Meantime, a good Samaritan (actually, they were Jehovah's Witness - or at least they were calling from a Kingdom Hall - but as they didn't leave a Watchtower, I'm going to call them a good Samaritan) brought in a far more common Eastern Painted Turtle that had been hit by a car. This one I didn't take photos of, though. She has a pretty nasty, but potentially fixable, crack in her carapace, and the wound had fly eggs laid in it.

Again fortunately, the fly eggs hadn't hatched out yet, so I did a bit of debriding to try to clean them all out and gave her a dose of antibiotics. Then brought her home, as well, so that I can take her over to the nearby York Center for Wildlife, where I expect they'll be able to put her back together and get her back into the wild by sometime next year.

YCfW is where I take pretty much all the injured or orphaned wildlife that I write about here, and they're a bunch of really dedicated people who do a really phenomenal job. They're also funded by donations, which is why I put that link over there in the sidebar a little while back. I give them a bit when I can, but their costs run about $70 for each animal they rehab. So if you can spare $5 (or even a bit more - it's tax-deductible), I'm sure I can something nice in my stash, possibly several somethings nice - to do a little drawing.

And if you really need the incentive, I'll go stash diving once I've gotten some sleep and take some photos.


BerkeleyBecca said...

Yesterday my wife rescued an ill cormorant that was on a busy beach and took it to one of the wildlife rescue organizations here in the Bay Area. We agreed that we will be donating to them now.

My first thought when she called me to get WildCare's phone number was that the bird would likely not survive, but I love that she was more concerned for its immediate welfare than about the ultimate outcome.

Molly Bee said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Inga! We lost our beloved Sebastian to renal failure in August. He had 18 great years but that didn't make it hurt any less. ((Hugs))
I used to volunteer for a wildlife rehab lady in Sherman many years ago. Her name was Gerry Elwell and she was an amazing woman. She and her husband ran the place themselves with no help and then got some sort of grant after her husband died. She wrote "Cuddles, the Maine Woodchuck" and had a weekly article in the Bangor Daily for years called "Feathers and Fur" to make ends meet. Many fond memories of working with the animals. My specialty was raccoon babies. Bottle feeding them was such a joy! One spring we had 28. But the time I finished the last one it was time to start with the first one again!

Sheepish Annie said...

Wow! A turtle theme! I like turtles. But, I'm really sorry that I had to see them under these sorts of circumstances. I hope all the turtles get to where they need to be so they can live out their lives happily.

knitnzu said...

I'm glad you put up her picture, I was hoping you would! I'll forward the post along to my MDIFW buddies. They are actually in Bangor, but a hand off in Augusta would work just fine due to the "my boss-herp leader" connection. I thought the flies only ate through dead tissue, or is this some other kind of fly? And how to you repair a turtle's carapace? Fiberglass? Did you read "A Fly for the Prosecution: How Insect Evidence Helps Solve Crimes"? I did a short book review for it for the Northeastern Naturalist... I can send it if you'd like.

Ann said...

Thirty years ago, we had neighbors, an elderly couple who had a box turtle, Timmy, forever, forever. We lived the Poconos of eastern PA at the time. They and Timmy were as devoted to each other as we and our cat(s) are.

It's hard to imagine that a creature with a protective shell could cuddle, but cuddle he did! (and as far as I know, box turtles weren't endangered in our area at the time)