Importance of proper husbandry

Yesterday, a lady gave me her Central American ornate wood turtle and asked me to save it. Not being an expert on turtles, I was puzzled at first by why she thought the little guy was in bad shape. When I turned him over, however, I saw the condition of his plastron. It’s definitely the worst case of rot that I’ve ever seen.

So, I called the best exotic vet I know and scheduled an appointment for next week (would have been sooner except, you know, Thanksgiving…). In the mean time, I gave him a Betadine bath and put some Neosporin on every area that looked infected. Then I set him into a quarantined, sanitized box with proper heating and UVB lights.

First of all, let me stress that proper husbandry for every animal that you adopt is essential. Secondly, if you cannot afford a vet (as was this lady’s excuse), then do the right thing and surrender your pet to someone who can. I don’t fault the lady that caused this little guy to suffer because she did the right thing and found him a new home with someone who can take care of him. I wish it could have been sooner, but at least it happened in the end.

I don’t know for sure, but my initial impression is that this turtle (which I’ve chosen to name Bowser 😀 ) is going to be another long-term patient. All of his suffering could have been avoided if he’d been provided with everything that he needed to grow and stay healthy. Turtles (and many lizards) need a UVB light. This isn’t optional! They need a heat source that is made for their type of heat-absorption (under tank heaters for belly warmers and heating lights for sun-bathers). They need calcium! They need clean water. Please do your research before adopting an animal. Your ignorance could torture the innocent creature that had no choice in the matter.

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