You don’t have to be a vet or wildlife rehabilitator to check an animal for signs of injury! We don’t normally ask the public to examine animals, but the increase in of eye and ear infections have us concerned, and they need your help!
If you find a wild box turtle, please do NOT bring it inside, allow a child to handle the turtle, or relocate it, but DO take a look to see if it needs help.
Look at the sides of the turtle’s face. If you notice large swollen spots or lumps, those are ear abscesses.
Check the turtle’s eyes. They should be clear and the turtle should have them open at almost all times. Swelling and cloudiness are red flags.
Take a look at the box turtle’s nose. You should NOT see water or mucus coming out of the nostrils. These are symptoms of pneumonia.
Do you see cracks, bleeding, or unstable, wobbly parts of the shell? Those are signs of a shell fracture and need treatment. (Note that the hinge on the bottom of a box turtle’s shell, which they use to close themselves inside their shell, is normal.)
Is any part of the turtle’s body bleeding, red, ulcerated, or leaking a clear or pus-like fluid? If so, it definitely needs help.
After handling a box turtle (or any reptile), make sure to wash or sanitize your hands as a precaution. Please contact a rehabilitator if you see any signs that concern you. You can help conserve these wonderful creatures for future generations.