Eastern long-neck turtle hit by car

“MacGyver” is an Eastern long-neck turtle and was brought into Byron Bay Wildlife hospital after being run over by a car on 27th September where he had suffered fractures to his carapace and plastron.
These injuries are serious as the carapace is the back convex part of the shell structure of a turtle, consisting primarily of the animal’s rib cage. Turtles are unable to remove their shells because they are connected to it by their spine. Because of this, the spinal cords nerve endings run through the surface of the carapace and give the turtle the ability to feel contact when something touches it.
The shell is divided into two parts. The top is called the carapace. The carapace combines the ribs, spine, and about fifty bones.
The bottom is called the plastron. It includes the lower parts of the ribs and the clavicle bones.
 
 
MacGyver’s fractures were carefully treated and put back together with metal lugs, and on the 1 October he was taken into care by WIRES volunteer Cory.
The first part of his recovery was in “dry dock” which means he could not go into water due to his injuries. He was given daily injections of antibiotics and pain relief.
After two weeks in care Cory brought him back to Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital for a check-up. His recovery was going well and he was allowed “water play” for an hour a day. He still needed daily medication and a further 4 weeks in care before going back to have the metal lugs removed and hopefully his last check-up.

 

Cory said earlier today: He loves his time in the water; it’s great to see him “come out of his shell” with more confidence and trust after 4 weeks in care. He loves his time in the water and I can’t wait until he gets the all clear to return to his natural habitat- best part of critter care, being able to release them!

Should you come across an injured turtle please remember that an injury to the shell is extremely painful, pick the turtle up by supporting it from below, never by the shell.
Please contact WIRES straight away on 1300 094 737 and make sure you let us know exactly where you found the animal so we can ensure it is released back to where it was found.
 
The Eastern long neck turtle’s lifespan is approximately 35 years and they rarely travel further than a few kilometers from where they were born. Turtles are determined creatures and if removed from their home territory they will continually try to find their way back home. Unfortunately, the stress of being in unfamiliar territory will cause them to stop eating and they will often die of starvation.
 
If you come across a turtle crossing the road, pull over if it is safe to do so. Watch which direction the turtle is heading, then carry the turtle across to the other side of the road and place them in the direction they were going. You will likely have saved its life by that simple action.
 
Thank you Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital for always being there for our injured and orphaned wildlife.
 
Pictures by Cory-ann Forsyth

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