On June 7, staff members at Natural Chimneys Park and Campground found an adult Eastern Box Turtle. While this typically wouldn’t be unusual occurrence, this particular turtle was painted with several colors of bright fingernail polish and had the name “Sheldon” written on the carapace in silver glitter. The campground staff guessed that this was a discarded pet, and transported the turtle to the Wildlife Center.
Dr. Dana Tedesco examined the female turtle when it arrived. The turtle had an abscess on her left femur; Dr. Dana performed radiographs on the turtle to ensure that the abscess was not extending into the turtle’s coelomic cavity, or main body cavity. When examining the radiographs, Dr. Dana discovered that the turtle had five eggs.
The turtle’s leg wound was flushed and bandaged, and Dr. Dana started a course of pain medication. The box turtle was moved into an enclosure in the Center’s reptile room. In addition to managing the turtle’s wound, the staff will carefully scrub the turtle’s shell each day to begin to slowly remove the fingernail polish. The staff will give the turtle several days to lay her eggs; if she does not lay them in her enclosure, the veterinary staff will administer a medication that will induce egg-laying.
Box Turtle #13-1342 is non-releasable, because we are unsure where it was found, how long it was in captivity, and if it was housed with other turtles. The painted shell suggests that this turtle was kept as a pet for some time, and because it was taken from the wild and left at the campground, it can never be released.
The Wildlife Center encourages everyone to leave wild turtles in the wild.
Box Turtle in the News:
"Wildlife Center Searches for Turtle Painters", The News Leader
"Wildlife Center Rescues a Turtle Covered in Graffiti," Treehugger.com
"Wildlife Center Caring for Eastern Box Turtle Covered in Paint", WVIR-TV