Help! (broken shell)

Jiriza92

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I live in central florida and found this poor tortoise! It breaks my heart to see what happened to his shell!! Any advice or tips??
 

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Krista S

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My goodness, this is absolutely heartbreaking. This poor tortoise needs to go to a very experienced vet who has experience with tortoises. That whole area needs to be cleaned up, probably covered and repair the crack where the carapace ans plastron meet. I don’t know legally what you’re allowed to do, but if you can’t take him to a vet, is there a tortoise rescue in the area that you can call or take him to?
 

TeamZissou

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Jiriza92

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Location (City and/or State)
Orlando FL
Hi everyone,

Thank you all so much for the information. Sometimes it can be hard to have a caring and loving heart for animals...

I emailed our local exotic veterinarian. Someone by the name of Pat got back to me and gave me a few places to try. I called FWC and the woman who answered told me that since it's a native tortoise and was found in the wild, to leave it alone and let nature take its course. Which tbh made me really upset...

But if that's the way it is, not sure what else I can do 😔 but let nature take its course, like she said.

Hesitant on calling anywhere else for it may be the same answer.
 

Lyn W

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The poor thing.

I know its different in the UK, and the US has all sorts of laws about torts, but most wildlife rescues here would treat any injured animal and then hopefully release again. If it wasn't possible to help it they would humanely euthanise it to prevent any unnecessary suffering.
That's so sad.
 

TeamZissou

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Albuquerque, NM
Hi everyone,

Thank you all so much for the information. Sometimes it can be hard to have a caring and loving heart for animals...

I emailed our local exotic veterinarian. Someone by the name of Pat got back to me and gave me a few places to try. I called FWC and the woman who answered told me that since it's a native tortoise and was found in the wild, to leave it alone and let nature take its course. Which tbh made me really upset...

But if that's the way it is, not sure what else I can do 😔 but let nature take its course, like she said.

Hesitant on calling anywhere else for it may be the same answer.

That's pretty brutal. There's no way that this happened by any 'natural' means. It looks like someone hit it with a hammer or threw a big rock at it. You'd think that if it got run over the break would be less localized.

You might try the wildlife alert number and see what they say.
 

Jiriza92

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Location (City and/or State)
Orlando FL
That's pretty brutal. There's no way that this happened by any 'natural' means. It looks like someone hit it with a hammer or threw a big rock at it. You'd think that if it got run over the break would be less localized.

You might try the wildlife alert number and see what they say.
So in the picture I posted, towards the left alllll the way in the back, there's a fence. He has himself set up behind the fence which unfortunately says "no trespassing."

So I emailed Pat back and told her what FWC said, and she convinced me to give another organization called CROW a call. So I did and spoke with a lovely girl named Robin. She said from what I described, it sounds like the injury is pretty old. I told her that he/she is able to use all 4 legs and I don't see any discharge or blood from the wound. Because of this, she said to leave it alone. But if I do see that its having complications to call back. She said that trauma to a tortoises shell can cause spinal issues, and the fact that its able to use all 4 legs with no problem is a good sign.

The tortoise honestly seems fine in this area it has itself set up in...I checked up on it today and once it noticed me, it scurried so fast to its hide it was kinda cute. But I felt really bad 😣. I will pray for it and keep checking in on it!!
 

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ZenHerper

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It's hard to tell from the pics if a piece of carapace has been bashed down in....OR if there is new growth coming in under an old injury and subsequent bone deterioration (no intervention required...it will continue to heal from the inside-up)...

@Yvonne G ?
 

Relic

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Honestly - and I will preface this comment with an admission that my veterinarian skills are non-existent - that injury appears to be a death sentence. The dirt - and all the microbes in the dirt - has entered into what was before a sterile chamber. Insects have an opening to invade. The carapace is completely broken into floating pieces (in humans we would call this a flail chest) and may be abrading and lacerating interior tissues and organs (the lungs are especially vulnerable). And I agree that this is apparently an assault on the poor fellow - unless he fell of a cliff and landed on a protruding rock, it is unlikely he injured himself. Pity all around...

But as my dear wife reminds me almost daily: "You may be wrong!"
 

Jiriza92

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Location (City and/or State)
Orlando FL
It's hard to tell from the pics if a piece of carapace has been bashed down in....OR if there is new growth coming in under an old injury and subsequent bone deterioration (no intervention required...it will continue to heal from the inside-up)...

@Yvonne G ?
That's pretty much what CROW said...no intervention needed
 

TeamZissou

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Albuquerque, NM
It's hard to tell from the pics if a piece of carapace has been bashed down in....OR if there is new growth coming in under an old injury and subsequent bone deterioration (no intervention required...it will continue to heal from the inside-up)...

@Yvonne G ?

To me it looks like there's a piece of carapace that's bashed in rather than new growth. The growth lines on the inner piece match the patterns on the rest of the shell, suggesting that this is recent. It looks like the bottom part of the caved in part is filled with sand.
 

TeamZissou

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That's pretty much what CROW said...no intervention needed

You may have done all that you can do.

The only other option I see is to find a vet willing to fix it pro bono. You'd need to find an experienced tortoise vet. It just seems like the local news loves stories of "Shelly the turtle got a new shell prosthetic, and it's 3D printed!" Maybe they could get some good press. Who knows.

Then there's the challenge of actually getting the tortoise since it's behind a fence on someone's land. This might be the toughest part. Based on the brochure from the state that says you can take an injured animal directly to a vet, it seems like you'd be within the law to do so.

You could also make the argument that if you leave this injured tortoise in place, there's a chance that it could reproduce before succumbing to the injury, whereas if it were taken to a vet and rehab center, it may never reproduce again to propagate more gopher tortoises in FL. It seems like getting it vet care would be the way to go though.
 
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