An “ABL” turtle update!

Good news! For those of you who are just joining us, back in September Jan & Rick Dappen rescued an injured and very ill turtle.  This guy had had a string of bad days over the summer. He was nicknamed “ABL” after the three-letter code that was assigned to him in our monitoring program.

Photos courtesy of K. Dudeck, Chattahoochee Nature Center.

All of this earned ABL a trip to the Chattahoochee Nature Center Wildlife Department, where Kathryn Dudeck and the staff have given him top notch rehabilitative care. One of ABL’s hind legs had to be amputated but he has mended vigorously. According to Kathryn:

He has put on 96 g (grams – ed.) since intake (which of course, included the leg that was amputated), so he now weighs 531 g. He is eating us out of house and home, and I have removed his sutures. He is starting to build strength in that right front leg that was limp, and he is beginning to put it in proper position when he walks. He isn’t bearing full weight on it yet, but most likely, it’s just a matter of time.

Good news, indeed! Here’s hoping that ABL is well enough to make that “release party” that Jan has talked about for this spring! A 531 gram (1 pound, 2 ounce) male box turtle is LARGE for this neighborhood but his mass reflects the fact that he was probably a big boy before he was hurt. Note that, in the “after” photo, both of his eyes are open and clear, his colors are much brighter, and his skin is dark. Back in September one eye was completely closed, his colors were very dull, and his skin was gray from dehydration.

Want to keep ABL in lots of yummy mealworms and other food in his convalescence? Would you like to help other injured and ill reptiles and raptors at the same time? Consider either joining Chattahoochee Nature Center or making a donation to CNC! A membership helps support CNC’s good works in nature interpretation and wildlife rehabilitation. A donation helps to fund the wildlife department and the operation of the Center in general.  A membership can benefit you and your family, too. It includes free admission to the Interpretive Center. CNC is an excellent place to “un-plug” your children and grandchildren for an afternoon while they learn about the wildlife and greater ecosystem surrounding the Chattahoochee River in north Atlanta. 

**Editor’s note: Should you find an injured or ill turtle in the Mountaintown Creek watershed, then please let me know and I will try to arrange to check it out. Every turtle counts in this monitoring project. And I encourage folks to move turtles out of the road whenever they find them. Unfortunately, my monitoring permit doesn’t include an authorization for others to remove turtles from the wild. Thanks!

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