I know it's stating the obvious but it has been very wet in the Illawarra lately. There are some great things about rain, like green grass, wet dog smell.... and green grass.
The downside of all this water includes traffic issues, inundations, mould and run-ins with wildlife. The change in weather can cause native animals to alter their behaviour: moving to new areas for safety, food or breeding opportunities and this can bring them into increased conflict with humans.
Turtles are one of the more common movers in this kind of weather. Eastern Long Necked Turtles are fairly common in this area, I often seen them while checking out fishing spots but during wet weather and at certain times of year, they can be on the move. Unfortunately sometimes this means they wander onto roads or into yards where cars and dogs can take their toll.
What to do if you find a turtle
If you do find an injured or even a misplaced turtle, there are definitely ways for anyone to help them.
- Document where and when the turtle was found. This will help with re-homing and data collection.
- Handle carefully - turtles can be picked up by the top of their shell (carapace in technical terms) but beware of the back feet, as they may struggle and scratch. Remember that turtles don't bounce well so hang on.
- Place in a secure container - surprisingly they are agile little ninjas so a plastic tub with a lid and air holes or cat carrier work well. It's best to line the carrier with newspaper rather than any fabric.
- Keep between 20-29 degrees C if possible.
- If not injured contact wildlife rescue (WIRES around Wollongong or WRSC if your down near or past Nowra)
- If injuries are evident take them to the vet (we'll always accept any injured wildife for assessment)
- Washing your hands after handling all animals is a good rule and that includes turtles.