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Don Lewis, Massachusetts Audubon Society,
Fox Island Wildlife Management Area

Will Miracles Never Cease? — 18 May 2001

Knotch, the deformed hatchling rescued from Round Island yesterday, spent the night under a heat lamp, lounging in brackish paludal water — a.k.a. a warm mud bath.  This morning her spirits soared.  As anyone approached her terrarium, she hissed ’em away.  Now, I’ve dealt with loads of hatchlings and with their tiny size, they much prefer to hunker down and keep very low profiles.  When you hit the scales at a quarter ounce, soaking wet, prudence dictates silence when a 150+ pound predator approaches.  Taunting it with a hiss seems like an open invitation to dinner.  But Knotch has her own ideas, and who’s to challenge this feisty little survivor?

Most amazing is her recuperative elasticity. The caved-in right side of her carapace, which seemed so horribly deformed yesterday, has ballooned back to near normal. Compare the photo of her last night (top) after a couple hours rehydrating with the one from this morning (bottom).

Her plastron still remains distorted, but at this rate, I expect to find her fully healed by the day’s end.