Help me identify a turtle please

I have a friend who found a turtle on her property with a damaged shell. She will release it back once it’s healed but asked me if I could find out what kind of turtle it is for her.

Turtle with my cell phone
Pic 2
Cracked Shell

Sorry, pictures are way too blurry and dark for me to even wager a guess but…she really needs to bring that poor thing to the local wildlife rehab center. Shell injuries really aren’t something people should play around with and try to heal themselves. Besides, most states have laws against people keeping wildlife in their homes, even to heal them.

I can’t tell much from your pictures, however this pdf: FIELD GUIDE TO REPTILES AND AMPHIBIANS OF NEW JERSEY has descriptions and pictures of 13 Jersey native turtles. Perhaps you can find a match with that.

It’s hard to tell from the pics, but it could be a Red Eared Slider (does it have red ears?)

I second the suggestion to turn the animal over to an expert:

  1. Wild turtles or terapins can carry salmonella - if your friend has kids they could get really sick.

  2. A cracked shell is a very serious injury for a turtle - they can dehydrate really quickly.

  3. Opal, drop the frikin’ turtle!

Anyhow - I wouldn’t try to nurse it if I found a turtle in that condition, and I had one as a pet for over a decade.

You are almost certainly right. It is or looks like it might be a turtle.
Can’t say specifically as to what kind though.
Maybe some of the referenced books may be of some help since you can make a direct comparison of the turtle with the pictures in the books.

It’s hard to tell from the photo, but my initial guess is a musk turtle, or perhaps a mud turtle. It doesn’t look much like a slider.

It is really important that your friend get the turtle to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator for proper care. The shell is badly damaged, and won’t set well if left as is. I’ve worked for a wildlife rehab facility, and we’ve had the majority turtles with shell damage heal well, but it takes some treatment by a vet or experienced person.

They can rebuild the shell by using tension (the current method is to glue orthdontic braces to the shell, and wire it together.) The wound needs to be cleaned out, and then a dressing of antibiotic ointment and tegaderm is laid over the wound, changed often. A course of injected antibiotics is given for a good while, as well.This is vital, as the environment a captive turtle is kept in makes it prone to infection.

Other issues are proper hydration and nutrition. Tutles have a slow metabolism,and heal slowly. A shell wound that bad will take a year to heal, so proper care is important over that long a period.

Here’s a good Wildlife Rehabilitation facility in Medford, NJ. They should be able to direct you to a local rehabber if they aren’t in your area.

Please stress to your friend that the wound is really beyond the average person’s ability to care for it. (Plus, it is illegal to keep wildlife without proper licensing) The turtle stands a great chance of recovery with proper treatment, though. Wildlife rehabbers are very compassionate folks, and the turtle will recieve excellent care.

That was my thought as well, based on the shape of the shell. But it’s difficult to tell from the photos.