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Turtle Turmoil at the Schrader Center

By Sara Fincham, Customer Service Representative & Program Facilitator — After enjoying the morning preschool classes at the Schrader Center, some of the children and their mothers made the most of the sunny skies and traipsed the trail around Shenk Lake in Oglebay Park. During their walk around the water they likely listened to some feathered friends that they had learned about in their class, perhaps even saw some birds soaring in the sky. One thing I doubt they thought they would find was a baby turtle in turmoil. Jessica, Mason and Nick Frank and Merissa and Torren Gilbert stumbled right onto the little turtle while they were walking!

Soon after almost stepping on the barely seeable “spot”, they realized that the turtle was mysteriously immobile. After closer calculation, they observed that the turtle’s eyes weren’t open. They decided to bring it back to the Schrader Center to see if our educators could identifiy and help the turtle. Mason carefully carried the tiny turtle, which did show signs of liveliness upon being lifted, to the Schrader Center.

Robin Lee, one of our environmental educators and the conductor of the morning’s class, took the Common Snapping Turtle, which can be classified by its smooth shell, as opposed to another kind, the Alligator Snapping Turtle that shows off a spiky shell, to an open tank. Once in the water, we watched with wonder as one of its eyes willingly opened, and it lunched on some worms. It appeared as though the turtle may have suffered damage, likely by a hungry bird or an unwitting pedestrian. However, the kids were happy to have helped and satisfied to see that they had hopefully saved an animal. Mason named the turtle “Jeddy,” and as they went on their way they declared that they would be back to check on their chum!

We have several animals living at the Schrader Center including Frank, a Midland Painted turtle, several species of snakes, an American toad, a larger Common Snapping turtle and plenty of birds and wildlife on our trails. Come visit while the weather is nice!

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