A two-year-old female Northern diamondback terrapin (Malacemys terrapin terrapin), whom we dubbed Amelia for reasons which may become obvious in a moment, arrived at the National Marine Life Center this morning. Amelia had a most unusual and nerve-wracking escape from tragedy over the weekend, and was rescued by observant residents of Wellfleet on Outer Cape Cod.
Amelia the Flying Terrapin
Surfacing from winter slumber buried under the soft mud of Wellfleet Bay, Amelia got the shock of a lifetime when she was scooped up by a seagull mistaking her for a yummy shellfish delight. Pinched in the seagull’s beak, Amelia suffered a fracture to the marginal scutes on her left bridge. But pyschologically, the worst was yet to come. As seagulls do, the bird soared into the sky and tossed Amelia, now an official flying turtle, into the air in order to crack her open like a clam when she landed back on the hard-packed road surface below. Stunned, but not down for the count, Amelia shook off the indignity and scrambled into a nearby brush pile to hide … only to be found and rescued by homeowners.
Don Lewis, the Turtle Guy, brought Amelia to the National Marine Life Center to be examined by Dr. Rogers Williams. Carefully assessing her injury, Rogers admitted Amelia for preventive treatment and preliminary healing of her fracture in order to avoid the potential of infection.
Well, Amelia. You are one extremely fortunate turtle to have survived the fright and the flight of a lifetime, and to have found your way into the care of the Cape’s top turtle and marine animal rehabilitation team. With any luck, if you have any remaining in your piggy bank, you’ll be back in the fertile salt marshes of Wellfleet Bay before the sun crosses the Tropic of Cancer.