That was the case recently after hundreds of newborn turtles found themselves trapped in a storm drain, who were luckily saved by some quick-thinking rescuers.
Students at Stockton University, in New Jersey, are used to helping baby terrapin turtles, who can often be found struggling to cross the streets on campus. These turtles are then cared for at the university’s vivarium, which holds over a thousand terrapin hatchlings for rehabilitation.
But while looking for local turtle hatchlings, a group of volunteers discovered a unique problem.
“As we passed the storm drains, we noticed that there was activity in them. When we looked closer, we saw that there were baby terrapins swimming in the storm drains,” turtle rescuer Marlene Galdi said, according to a Facebook post.
Over 800 diamondback terrapin hatchlings had taken shelter in an underground storm drain for the winter. They had been surviving for months off their yolk sacs, but now that it was time to emerge for Spring, the turtles were stuck.
Saving them would be no easy task, but the quick-thinking rescuers put a plan into action by improvising a custom turtle-saving net by attaching a pool cleaner to a bamboo pole.
Amazingly, the plan worked, allowing them to reach down into the drain and scoop up all the turtles.
The “Storm Drain Babies,” 826 in all, were brought to the Stockton University vivarium.
The vivarium now holds over 1,000 turtles. Many of the hatchlings were rescued from the road after their mothers were killed by passing vehicles.
While some require permanent care in the facility, most are released into the wild after an incubation period.
“Hatchlings spend about a year at Stockton under optimum growing conditions to give them a head start prior to being released back into the wild,” Stockton University explains. “A head-started terrapin is 2-3 times larger than a wild terrapin of the same age.”
We’re so glad these baby turtles are safe! Thank you to these rescuers for saving the day!