On February 29, a private citizen was gardening in Rockingham County and accidentally uncovered a tiny hibernating Woodland Box Turtle. The gardener brought the turtle to the Wildlife Center that same afternoon.
Dr. Claire examined the hatchling turtle and found that the turtle was dehydrated, lethargic, and cold to the touch. Turtles naturally hibernate over the winter when resources are more limited, and the temperatures aren’t conducive to reptile systems. Sometimes hatchlings will go directly into hibernation after hatching and do not emerge until spring. Dr. Claire was able to slowly warm the turtle before giving fluids, which caused the turtle to brighten significantly. Radiographs were taken to check for any internal injuries, though no abnormalities were noted.
The turtle weighed 8.45g upon intake – equivalent to the average weight of a jelly bean!
The turtle will be housed in the Center’s reptile room until May, when turtles can be released.