Thursday, July 3, 2008

Turtle Speed Bumps

When given the opportunity, most of us would avoid running over an animal with our vehicle but this is not a universal sentiment.

A few days ago I stopped to rescue a Softshell Turtle that had been hit. I could see it in the road from about 1/2 a mile away and yet car after car passed it by without care. It was clearly struggling and when I stopped, to the annoyance of a vehicle that was forced to change lanes and go around me (SORRY - grrr), I could see that the turtle's back half was crushed. It could not survive but I could see the flies, ants and mosquitoes already starting to congregate and still the turtle desperately attempted to drag itself across the road.

I gently placed the turtle in a reusable shopping bag and tucked it into the back of my new car (and selfishly hoped it would not move around and make a mess). I was on my way to Sanibel Island and knowing there is an animal rehab center out there, I called them and let them know I was coming in.

I was pessimistic when I handed the poor turtle over to them. They gave me a phone number and told me I could call and check back but I didn't. There's no way it could have survived. But they said if they could not help her they would put her down to prevent further suffering.

In the clinic I noticed an Endangered Gopher Tortoise shuffling around, its carapace (upper shell) caved in from a serious accident.

The turtle had been brought in and miraculously rehabed to the point where it will be able to be returned to the wild soon. So it was heartening to see a success story in person.

Humans can be compassionate for each other and for the natural world but there are so many that are cruel and ambivalent towards nature. I can't imagine how anyone can hit a turtle and leave it (or any wildlife for that matter).

I'm grateful for the volunteers and staff members of C.R.O.W (Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife) for all of their efforts and have become a member to help them continue to do great work.

Whether a snake, turtle, raccoon, opossum, deer or any other creature - they aren't speed bumps and we all need to slow down a little and give them a chance.


  1. I really want to know what happened to the turtle. Even if he didn't make it....
    You make a good point.

  2. I know exactly how you feel. Last Wednsday one of our campers came in and said he saw a black bear that was hit by a car on route 100A not far outside the park entrance. I went to investigate and found a small black bear unconcious laying by the road. He was just a cub. Probibly 5 to 6 months old. The person who hit the bear didn't stop or even slow down, just drove on his merry way. The little guy was breathing but unresponsive. I assumed he had brain injury. The game warden came and euthenized him. I cried myself to sleep that night. Contrary to popular opinion, we are not seperate from the other creatures that we share this planet with. It saddens me that we are such poor caretakers.