On May 13, an adult male Bog Turtle was found by a road in southwest Virginia. The turtle was taken to the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center of Roanoke to be stabilized and was transferred to the Wildlife Center the following day.
This species of turtle is federally threatened and state-endangered; the last Bog Turtle the Center treated was back in 2012, from the same part of Virginia. Bog Turtles are the smallest freshwater turtle in Virginia; adults typically average about 4 inches in length. Adults have dark colored shells which are typically rough at first, though often become smooth over the years from so much burrowing. Bog Turtles have a noticeable orange or yellow blotch behind each eye. In Virginia, Bog Turtles are only found in four counties in the southwestern part of the state.
The turtle had fractures on his carapace (upper shell) and left bridge (side of the shell), though fortunately, the fractures were well-aligned. Dr. Karra, the Center’s veterinary intern, applied metal bars to the turtle’s shell to help stabilize the fractures as they heal. Each day, the team carefully checks the fracture site to ensure there are no signs of infection.
As long as the fractures heal well, the turtle should be able to be released in his home habitat later this summer.