Turtles, gators coming out to play after recent weather changes in Martin County
Treasure Coast Newspapers
MARTIN COUNTY — A softshell turtle was spotted Thursday morning waiting at the front door of the Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza in Stuart.
Kim Guile, an Animal Services deputy for the Sheriff’s Office, said a call came in about the turtle around 10:30 a.m. at the restaurant in the 2300 block of Southeast Federal Highway. Animal Services was able to safely capture it.
The turtle was one of several creatures have recently resurfaced because of the weather changes Martin County has seen in the past few months.
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« We’ve had a lot of turtles being found in various areas where we don’t normally see turtles at because it was raining so much and we had makeshift ponds everywhere, » Guile said. « Now that the rain has stopped and the water has receded, all these ponds that were there are no longer there and they’re kind of like, ‘Oh wait, where did our pond go?' »
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On Wednesday, Guile said she responded to a call about a small alligator that was taking a leisurely swim in a residential pool near Southeast Medalist Place in Hobe Sound.
« We do a lot of wildlife calls, especially this time of year, but not so much alligator calls, » she said.
Both creatures were caught and released shortly afterward in nearby waterways.
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Guile said along with having your pool fenced off and not leaving food out are good ways for residents to prevent animals from coming into their yard.
« I know everyone loves to feed birds, but bird seeds do attract other animals, » she said.
Guile also said to make sure the turtle you spotted is definitely a turtle and not a tortoise before you throw it into the water. Tortoises are land animals and cannot swim.
« The tortoises have the big chunky feet, kind of like rhinoceros, and the turtles have flippers, » she said.
If people see animals in their yard and are afraid of the animal, they can call Animal Services, Guile said.
« If you can try to pick it up safely and put it in the grass, it’ll be on its way, » she said. « Just be respectful of the wildlife; they’re just trying to live like we are. »
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