Snapping Turtle #17-0568

Patient Status: 
Patient Archive

On April 22, a juvenile Snapping Turtle was found on a trail in Bayse, Virginia,  and was transported to the Wildlife Center.

Upon admission, the Snapping Turtle #17-0568 was lethargic and quiet, relative to the normal behavior of Snapping Turtle patients. The veterinary staff identified fractures in the lower jaw on both the left and right sides, and a hairline fracture on the upper jaw. Although the fracture fragment in the lower jaw was still in place, it was mobile and needed to be stabilized.

It can be very difficult for our veterinary team to assess a Snapping Turtle, because of the danger posed by the turtle's bite; the turtle was sedated for a full exam and for treatment. To stabilize the fracture, the veterinary team used a creative solution -- a bent paper clip and tissue glue!

The improvised splint will remain in place for at least six weeks to allow the fractures to heal. If the procedure is a success and the fractures heal, there is still concern of improper growth and alignment as the beak grows. This could cause discomfort for the turtle and could affect the turtle's ability to eat. The veterinarians will assess the turtle's beak during the coming weeks.

Another concern about this turtle’s injury is potential infection; the wounds cannot be safely cleaned unless the turtle is sedated. Because Snapping Turtles are aquatic, patient #17-0568 is housed in water, which increases the chances of bacterial infection. To help prevent bacterial growth, and to decrease the chances of infection, the turtle's water is a diluted salt solution.

The turtle will receive pain medication and antibiotics to prevent infection.

Snapping Turtle #17-0568 was featured on the Center's monthly Hospital Cam on April 27.

Your donation will help provide specialized care to this turtle during its stay at the hospital.


May 4, 2017

In the days following his improved splinting procedure, Snapping Turtle #17-0568 was checked and cared for daily. The veterinary team was pleased with how the splint remained intact, though the turtle was fairly lethargic. Sadly, on April 30, the turtle was found dead in his enclosure. While turtles can be amazingly resilient, the team is aware how traumatic a facial injury can be.