Help... Mrs brought home a saw shelled turtle, what to do?

Discussion in 'Other Australian Reptiles and Amphibians' started by Northy, May 3, 2018.

  1. Northy

    Northy New Member

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    Hi I'm up in the far NQ. My missus was in a restaurant and a saw shelled turtle walked in, little baby one (maybe 6cm), clearly lost and miles away from any water. Was very dry and very happy to be back in water.

    So she brings the guy home because I've got fish tanks, figures we can look after it...

    But what do I do? I don't want to take on this responsibility now. I look after tropical fish and all my big tanks are full, as well as never having sourced live food and all that goes with owning a turtle person.

    Where can I put him safe so he can live his life happy? Can I just release him in a stream or waterhole? Or should I call some conservation mob?

    Any help appreciated.
     
  2. Bl69aze

    Bl69aze Very Well-Known Member

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  3. Bluetongue1

    Bluetongue1 APS Veteran APS Veteran

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    Given the size of it and the distance away from water, it has no doubt been transported there. Maybe a kid picked it up travelling with his/her family and when mum or dad found out they made the child release it then and there. Anyway, the important thing is that it may not naturally occur in the region where you live. So please do NOT release it un
    til it has been identified as a locally occurring species. The people to contact are FNQ Wildlife Rescue Inc. They are on Facebook and their website is: http://www.fnqwildliferescue.org.au/contactus.html. Ask them who to contact in your area to get it identified. If it is a local species, then google its preferred habitat and release it in the nearest suitable water body that matches.

    In the meantime it can be kept in a reasonable sized plastic storage tub or similar, with 2 or 3 cm of aged water i.e. just enough to allow it to submerge and swim freely. To this needs to be added something which will allow it to climb out of the water and not scratch its plastron, such as a river stone wrapped in a cloth. Alternatively, use the bath tub and leave the end section dry. Water should be changed daily, as turtles produce a fair whack of wastes (in the form of ammonia and urea).

    There are people on here that could identify it. Ideally that would require a clear photo of the plastron and carapace, such that all the borders to scutes can be clearly seen, a side and end-on shot of the body, and a side-on and top view of the head & neck showing skin details.

    If you have to transport it, don’t do so in water. Wrap it lightly in some moistened open-weave material, like hessian (so it can breathe) placed in a bucket or similar water proof container in a cool spot.

    Information on feeding hatchlings can be found on the last page of the AFT Care pdf:
    http://www.vhs.com.au/wp-content/up...-Australian-FW-Turtles-in-Captivity-Links.pdf. It has heaps of other info too.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2018
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  4. Flaviemys purvisi

    Flaviemys purvisi Very Well-Known Member

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    Hi mate, if you like, you can email me some pics of the little one and let me know your location at kev@turtles.net.au and I'll ID it for you after I get home from work this arv. If it is indeed a Saw-shelled turtle, it should be released into suitable habitat within 20km of where it was found (provided they naturally occur in your region) as previously mentioned, that MUST be verified first. :)

    It is not uncommon for small turtles to be found seemingly miles from anywhere, birds often pick them up and carry them off and then have a change of heart and drop/discard them and this does often happen with no visible signs of injury at all. Just thought I would add this. I believe human intervention is not the case. The turtle should not be offered food.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2018
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  5. Northy

    Northy New Member

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    I'm pretty sure it's a saw shell turtle, it ticks all the boxes on the governments turtle identification PDF and looks like every baby saw shell turtle on google. I put him in one of my nursery tanks with some clean painted rocks and rain water last night. He seems happy enough. Curious but shy. Will check me out but hides if I check him out.

    The area where it was found was near Mission Beach in QLD. According to the government websites they are found in this area too. Apparently they love to chow down on cane toads. I like them even more now.

    I'll not give him food as directed, though I do have bloodworm and high quality cichlid pellets on hand. Feel sorry for they guy. The missus named him Sputnik. I laughed.

    Thanks for the help everyone. I'll try with the wildlife mob today, and if that comes up short I'll drop you a line Flaviemys purvisi.


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2018
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  6. Flaviemys purvisi

    Flaviemys purvisi Very Well-Known Member

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    Definitely a Saw-shelled turtle - Myuchelys latisternum as it has not got a nuchal scute between scutes A & X. Saw-shells never have a nuchal scute. :) Quickest and easiest way to ID them if you're unfamiliar with turtles. :)
     
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  7. Northy

    Northy New Member

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    Got hold of Mission Beach Wildcare and they identified him, he's going to be set free in Licuala this arvo.

    We had some floods not long ago and they've been showing up everywhere, even being plucked out of the ocean.

    He'll be happy in Licuala swimming hole, there is healthy turtle communities there. :)
     
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  8. Scutellatus

    Scutellatus Well-Known Member

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    Up to this point I wasn't sure if I was reading a joke or if you were serious.
    Good work on the rescue!
     
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  9. Flaviemys purvisi

    Flaviemys purvisi Very Well-Known Member

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    Good work mate, appreciate your prompt action to getting this one back into the wild ASAP. At about 6cm (your estimate) it will be around 5 years old and more than likely the only surviving member of its clutch. Your good deed may very well see it continue on and reach a ripe old age.

    Good on you.
    Cheers.
     
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  10. Northy

    Northy New Member

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    Well I went out to Licuala with the kids, the mozzies were swarming but turtle guy seemed happy enough. When we first got there I saw other turtles swimming away.

    Looking around

    [​IMG]

    Swimming away

    [​IMG]

    Home free

    [​IMG]

    As a fish keeper I'm unlikely to come around this forum again, but I'd like to thank everyone for their prompt advice that got him back where he belongs. :)

    Best wishes and happy critters to you all.

    Northy
     
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  11. Flaviemys purvisi

    Flaviemys purvisi Very Well-Known Member

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    You've chosen a great location. Thanks for sharing the pics of the release.
     
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  12. Bluetongue1

    Bluetongue1 APS Veteran APS Veteran

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    @Northy. That’s good news about the ID and intended release. Thanks for getting back to us about that. And while I’m at it, thanks for making the effort to seek appropriate advice so the little one could be returned to nature. I apologise that I was too preoccupied at the time to give you recognition of that. If only everyone held your values and attitudes…

    In this particular case, given that there was no mention of injuries or marks from claws, beak or indications of being dropped from a height, plus the fact it ended up in an area that was urbanised enough to supports a restaurant, and given it was seemingly somewhat dehydrated, I think the transport of it by human involvement much more likely than by avian predators. So the suggested 20km release limit would not necessarily be relevant in this instance.

    The feeding information provided includes frequency, and being an accomplished fish keeper I was confident that you would only feed it if you had to hang on to long enough. I was also confident that if you did need to feed it, you would be able to so according to care sheet. I initially wrote these things and then deleted them in recognition of your evident expertise.

    Just to explain a little more about the ID, many juvenile short-necked turtles have serrated rear margins and an elevated central crest, which becomes smoother and flatter with age, the degree to which depends upon the species. Also depending upon the species, some are really easy to ID, while others require examination of one or more of the aspects that I mentioned in the list of photographs. I was just trying to cover all bases.
    I just went to post this and saw your pictures of the release. It might be only one small turtle, but it speaks volumes about the rewards and purpose of looking after our native wildlife. Again, thank you for that.

    Mike L
     
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  13. Northy

    Northy New Member

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    Thanks for the words of kindness guys and your further shared knowledge.

    My kids were delighted to be part of learning about this turtle first hand and releasing him into his natural habitat. It was one of those moments that you just can't really put a price on.
     
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  14. Flaviemys purvisi

    Flaviemys purvisi Very Well-Known Member

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    Turtles are addictive mate. That's the slogan. ;)
    2-warningturtles_are_addictive_sticker_465 - Copy.png
    Before you know it, you are rolling around with TURTLES plates on your car. Hehe
    Turtles plates 2.jpg
    Here's a bunch of captive bred saw-shells, Krefft's, Mary's, Macleays and broad shells catching some rays.
    20150208_112956.jpg

    The real estate left this card on the kitchen bench when I bought my house after renting through them for 9 years. They were shattered they could no longer come around for quarterly property inspections and see all the turtles. Haha.
    20160316_151120.jpg
     
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  15. Northy

    Northy New Member

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    I am resisting the urge... to many plants and animals already.

    I can see where this goes. :D
     
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