Turtle rescue

May 21, 2019 • 11:00 am

by Greg Mayer

Midland painted turtles (Chrysemy picta marginata) are the most abundant turtles in southeastern Wisconsin, and they live in and nest around Greenquist Pond, the pond right outside the building where my office is. Hatchlings don’t always walk the right way from their wintering abodes, and need help if they are to survive.

On May 9, 2019 (almost exactly five years since a similar reptile rescue), a group of students found this hatchling on its back on the concrete plaza between the lower levels of Wyllie and Comm Arts, 100 or more yards from the Pond.

Hatchling midland painted turtle (Chrysemys picta marginata), UW-Parkside, Somers, WI, May 9, 2019

Knowing who to go to for reptile advice, they brought the little fellow to me. Given its size, and its incompletely healed umbilical scar, this turtle hatched last summer (2018), and may have overwintered in the nest, emerging this spring. The turtles often nest in the area to the south and southeast of the Pond, and this one must have headed the wrong way after its winter nap.

Hatchling midland painted turtle (Chrysemys picta marginata), UW-Parkside, Somers, WI, May 9, 2019. Note the incompletely healed umbilical scar.

At my suggestion, the students took the turtle to the Pond, and released it in the shallows at its NE corner, where it could make its home with the other painted turtles, including, in all probability, its parents.

The students who rescued the turtle, and released it in Greenquist Pond. The turtle is cupped in one of the rescuers’ hands.

16 thoughts on “Turtle rescue

    1. I second that! I’m so glad these kind-hearted students saved this little creature. I hope others will look out for more stranded baby turtles and follow suit.

  1. Reminds me that all’s well that end’s well. Thanks for this lovely post and for the students who intervened.

  2. My favorite turtle is the “Wood turtle”, which, as a kid, I would occasionally catch in N.J. They’re somewhere between box turtles and aquatic turtles in shell shape, and can climb chicken-wire. Great colors, too!

  3. Surely being reptiles, turtles would hatch from an egg, so where does the umbilicus come from? I thought only mammals were born with an umbilicus,

  4. Never read a good turtle saving story that wasn’t worth reading. Thanks for the post and kudos to the students. Baby reptiles, especially turtles, are so darned adorable.

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