Bayswater community helps save seven wetlands baby turtles

Bayswater community helps save seven wetlands baby turtles

THE Bayswater community has banded together to raise seven baby turtles that made their way into a backyard near the Carter wetlands.

The oblong turtles were only hours old when they were found in a pond three weeks ago and taken in by No Houses in Wetlands member Deborah Bowie.

She said five turtles arrived one Saturday morning, one Monday and one Monday afternoon, all in the pond.

“I often check for frogs trapped and was so surprised to find baby turtles,” she said.

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“They must have hatched at different times and taken the same path to find the nearest water.”

Ms Bowie contacted the City of Bayswater environmental officer and the Turtle Oblonga Rescue and Rehabilitation Network (TORRN) for advice.

TORRN trained Ms Bowie on how to care for the turtles, including feeding, changing tub water twice a day and keeping the water temperature 22C to 26C with a heater.

The rehabilitation group said the turtles were only a few hours old as they still had yolk sacks attached to their bellies and weighed between 6.5g to 7.5g.

Ms Bowie said she put a call out on Facebook for turtle food – mosquito larvae, blood worms and insects that live in water – to which many people responded.

“The whole community is raising the turtles. They’re absolutely gorgeous… it’s a real privilege,” she said.

She said as a long-term resident she had never had turtles appear at her house before.

Ms Bowie said they had been looking at release sites for the turtles for the end of the month and hoped to release them into the Carter wetlands.

TORRN member Tanya Marwood said oblong turtles were across the metropolitan area and they were often found in backyards.

“It’s not unusual for them to hatch and head to the nearest water body; they’re vulnerable at that small size,” she said.

Ms Marwood said the group was working on a “best practice” policy with Department of Parks and Wildlife to ensure safety of wildlife during development works.