Miracle of Survival: #2728 Reappears Year Later

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Female Terrapin One Year After Near Fatal Injury

On July 18th, 2009 young female terrapin #2728 nearly lost her life.  She came ashore on Lieutenant Island in Wellfleet Bay to return to her natal site to deposit the next generation of threatened diamondback terrapins.  Instead, she was run over, her shell was broken and crushed.  Rather than giving up the quest, she crawled bleeding and dehydrated to the end of Marsh Road and spent the night digging through a compacted gravel driveway to lay her eggs.

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Female Terrapin Immediately After Near Fatal Injury

Her epic struggle became a page one story on several Cape Cod newspapers and was documented on Turtle Journal under the posting: Turtle Bests Odds to Win Epic Struggle to Save Offspring.  After assessing her injuries and cleansing her wounds, Turtle Journal’s Don Lewis decided that her best chance of survival was an immediate return to the healthy terrapin habitat surrounding Lieutenant Island.  (You can see her release in a video clip in the July 2009 posting or click here.)  That decision was not universally applauded by others who thought she should have been admitted for long-term medical care and rehabilitation, instead.

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Compare Healed Right Side Carapace Today

Fortunately, this afternoon Sue Wieber Nourse of Turtle Journal recaptured Terrapin #2728 in Loagy Bay on the east side of Lieutenant Island.  Her healing and recovery over the last 12 months has been nothing short of miraculous.  Her length increased by only 1.5 millimeters … a mere 1% growth, BUT her weight jumped from 724 grams after her accident and depositing eggs in July 2009 to 925 grams today (nearly 30% improvement).   Her behavior was normal and healthy; her broken shell had sealed and healed.  In the series of before and after images that follow, you can examine the extent of her recovery in almost exactly one year, nearly 7 months of which was spent in deep brumation under the oozy bottom of Wellfleet Harbor.

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Left Bridge July 2009

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Left Bridge July 2010

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Right Bridge July 2009

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Right Bridge July 2010

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Right Bridge July 2009

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Right Bridge July 2010

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 Right Bridge July 2009

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Right Bridge July 2010 

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