Weight Watchers for Kame and Kachua
In our quest to make sure that our head starts were of a good size to be released into the wild, it appears that the turtles might be a bit overweight as a result.
Dr. Murray from Tufts Wildlife Center writes this report about Kame:
We took x-rays on Kame yesterday and I don’t see any abnormalities in the bones of the leg. I do see that she does not use that leg the same way she uses the left. On examining her, the most notable problem is that she is–sorry, there’s no other way to put it and I don’t want to offend–obese. Her carapace is also slightly mis-shapen toward the tail end.
I don’t know the reason for the lameness/decreased use of the right front leg at this point. Is she very active in her enclosure? It is possible that she simply twisted it and caused a soft tissue injury in the leg and is reluctant to use it because it is sore.
Sam was asking about the UV light because the light is important for normal calcium metabolism and growth of bone, including the shell. The abnormality of her carapace could possibly be related to not having enough exposure to UV light. It could also be due to her simply growing too fast. The carapace is not a huge problem for her, but it is good that you have replaced the light.
At this point, we can hold on to her, treat her with some anti-inflammatory medication for the leg, and start her on a diet and see how she does with the leg. We definitely need to get her weight down. Do you have other turtles, and, if so, are they all as, well, round as Kame?
So your job in this blog is to develop a plan to get Kame and Kachua’s weight down. What should they be eating? How often should they be eating? How can we get them to exercise more? What types of experiences would get them to be ready for the wild?