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Updated: 02/01/2018 08:30:03AM

Chelonian life

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By Robin Jenkins, DVM

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Tomorrow is the most important holiday of the year: Groundhog Day. While we don’t actually believe in groundhogs here in Florida (the southern extent of their native range is Georgia), we know many of our northern friends put great stock in a certain Pennsylvanian rodent’s morning ritual on this day. Whether or not the little rascal sees his shadow, spring is just around the corner. And while we will miss our friends when they journey back north, no one will miss the extra traffic. Especially the tortoises.

Peace River Wildlife Center has a dozen turtles and tortoises in long-term care right now. A few were attacked by predators (mostly dogs), some are suffering from respiratory infections (just like the rest of us), but most were hit by cars. With their slow metabolism, it can take up to a year for a tortoise or turtle to heal from an injury. Depending on the species, their care and diet must be adjusted accordingly. How do we know what type of food, temperature, and humidity each patient requires?

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