I saw something on a typically busy road early yesterday morning when I was driving. The object was in the middle of the West-bound lanes and I was headed East. I immediately knew what the object was by its shape, but I sincerely hoped and prayed that I had seen it wrong. Several cars and two large trucks were headed right for it. I got to the closest turning point that I could, turned my car around and parked off the road. I checked for traffic. There were cars coming, but they were a little ways off so I ran out into the road. The object was just as I suspected…a big snapping turtle. She had already been hit. Her shell was cracked…bright red blood was pooling around her. I thought she was already gone…but then she moved her head. I didn’t have much time…the cars were coming fast, so I picked her up (she was probably a good 7 – 10 pounds) and ran as she snapped repeatedly at me. I thought “she’s a fighter.” I got her to my car. I always carry an animal emergency kit and a first aid kit. I got out my animal carrier and placed the turtle inside. She snapped again, but went into the carrier fairly easily. I have some phone numbers for local wildlife rehabbers in my phone, so I started calling after placing the carrier in my car and covering it with a towel. I finally got a hold of a local woman who I’ve been told does excellent rehab work with turtles. She lived close by too. I took the turtle to her and she already had two other turtles set to go to the vet that day, so my turtle would go along with them and get x-rays. She examined the turtle and said she was probably female because the females are moving to lay their eggs now. The prognosis doesn’t seem great, but I’m going to call tomorrow to see how she is. The rehabber was going to get the turtle started on pain medications right away to ease her pain. I’m SO glad I was there this morning. The rehabber said that reptiles can live weeks and weeks with critical injuries before succumbing to them. Even if my turtle has to be humanely euthanized, at least she won’t be suffering, and she won’t be repeatedly run over until she dies on that road. I’m praying for a miracle. I’d like to ask that you watch the roads closely. If you see a live or injured animal on the road, please do not put yourself in danger, but PLEASE do what you can to help, or call someone else to come and help. If you can get the animal to safety, please do so and call your local wildlife rehabbers if it is a wild animal, or you can even call the local animal control if necessary. I cannot imagine dying on a road by being repeatedly run over. Can you? Please consider this if you see ANY creature in need.
UPDATE 06.27.13: I found out from the wildlife rehabber that the snapping turtle had to be euthanized. She said the cracks on the shell were manageable, but the wound through the skin and muscle led to the organs and was not repairable. Although this deeply saddens me, I’m very glad the turtle did not suffer long. The rehabber said that this turtle could have lived days or even weeks in the wild with these critical injuries before succumbing to them. Please be careful on the roads and watch out for wildlife, domestic animals and humans alike.