Gravid Turtle Rehabilitated & Released

Wildlife Posted Jan 25, 2023
Watch a mother turtle successfully head back into the wild after receiving care in our Wildlife Hospital.

This poor broad shelled turtle was hit by a car while crossing the road and was taken to a nearby vet in the Redlands, who then reached out to our Wildlife Hospital for assistance.

The turtle came in with a fractured carapace (or top shell), which can be a catastrophic injury for these animals. Their shells are part of their anatomy, meaning they are fused to bones and connected to nervous systems, so any injury to this area can cause a lot of pain and suffering.

Our wildlife vets conducted an x-ray to check her over for any internal damage, which is where they discovered she was pregnant (known as gravid) with 14 eggs inside of her! She was appropriately nicknamed ‘Big Mama’ from that point on.

Gravid turtle x-ray with RSPCA Queensland Wildlife Veterinarians

Big Mama was treated with antibiotics, fluids and pain relief, and our amazing vets were even able to heal her fracture using dental acrylic and putty!

Gravid turtle in RSPCA Queensland Wildlife care

She was kept in a temperature-controlled pool to keep her metabolism active and encourage healing, while also having access to a dry area to see if she would lay her eggs. Turtles usually lay eggs from Autumn to Winter, so our vets kept a close eye on her and did regular radiographs to ensure everything was tracking along safely. Turtles have a very long incubation period of up to one year and Big Mama was not keen to lay her eggs in care. As she was healthy, we decided not to intervene and to let her lay her eggs once she was back in the wild.

Gravid turtle in RSPCA Queensland Wildlife care

Our wonderful wildlife vet Karina took the turtle to a waterway near where she was found, and she seemed to know where she was straight away! She was successfully released and will hopefully be swimming with her hatchlings very soon.

Our Wildlife Hospital supports injured and sick wildlife because of the generosity of animal lovers just like you. Thank you so much for helping us to give second chances to so many animals like Big Mama every single day!

Emma Lagoon
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