Dog days are over for lucky turtle

22-Jan-2018

A recovered northern long-necked turtle is released back into the wild. Photo: Geraldine Reid

A recovered northern long-necked turtle is released back into the wild. Photo: Geraldine Reid


A turtle that was rescued after almost becoming a dog’s dinner has been released back into the wild.

A Good Samaritan took the northern long-necked turtle to Ark Animal Hospital with a severely chewed shell and a deep puncture wound, after it escaped from a suburban yard and ended up in the jaws of a dog.

Charles Darwin University Animal Studies Lecturer Geraldine Reid, a volunteer veterinary nurse at the clinic, took the female turtle home to rehabilitate after it had been stabilised.

“It took her about five months to heal,” Ms Reid said.

“The scratches will fade over time because the turtles shed the scutes on top of their shells.”

Ms Reid used the turtle rehabilitation centre at CDU to ensure her charge was able to swim and dive, before releasing the 1.5kg reptile, estimated to be about 10 years old, back into the wild.

Through her volunteer work she rehabilitates and releases about 20 turtles a year.

“Most of the turtles I care for are fresh water dwellers that have been hit by cars while moving between water holes in urban areas between late January and September; they can travel long distances,” she said.

“Others have fish hook injuries, while marine turtles tend to have pollution-related problems, such as ingesting plastic.”