Ansonia’s Quincy now a quad
ANSONIA-While Quincy is now a quad there are no plans to change her name.
At least not according to Dawn Sotir, a ranger at the Ansonia Nature Center on Deerfield Road.
“She’s doing quite well now,” said Sotir of Quincy who had her mutated fifth leg amputated Aug. 23 by Veterinarian James Micinilio, of Countryside Veterinary Hospital on Shelton’s,Leavenworth Road. “For the first three days she was lethargic, not eating, keeping her head down. So we brought her friend Tripod (a three-legged fellow Eastern Box Turtle) into the cage with her and she perked right up.”
Now the pair are inside the Nature Center sunning under an Ultraviolet light and feasting on watermelon, carrots and worms.
“She really loves the squiggly red worms,” said Joshua Tyler, a high school volunteer at the Center.
It wasn’t long ago that Sotir, Tyler and others noticed something wrong with Quincy, a favorite of children visiting the Center.
“She was having a lot of stress moving,”Sotir said. “The leg was cold to the touch.”
So Micinilio was called.
“Her shell was closing in on the leg,” said Micinilio. “Eventually it would have acted like a tourniquet. I thought it best to amputate it.”
Working in his Bridgeport Avenue facility, Micinilio anesthesized Quincy and then used a bone saw to cut the leg off near the forearm.
“I would have liked to have gone farther in and amputated it at the elbow joint but I couldn’t reach it,” he said. “I tied the blood vessels and then used sutures which will dissolve on their own in 12-days.”
Micinilio then prescribed baytril as an antibiotic and metacam to help with the pain.
“I told them to keep her in a sterile environment for at least the next 14 days,” he said. “I did not want her getting the wound wet or dirty.”
So Quincy was brought inside and placed in a cage lit by Ultraviolet light and lined with newspaper.
“It took three people to get her mouth opened the first time we gave her the medication,” Sotir said. “Luckily the next time I saw her eating some watermelon pieces so I grabbed the syringe and was able to squeeze it in her mouth.”\
Eastern Box turtles are usually found in forests and characterized by their brown shells with orange, black and red splotches. They can live to well into their 70s.
The three Eastern Box turtles at the Center all have deformities.
Quincy was found about 12 years ago as a hatchling. Tripod, her three-legged BFF, probably had a leg taken off by a raccoon when she came a decade ago. Igor has a soft-shell probably because his former owner fed him a diet of shrimp as opposed to worms and fruits. Mr. Magoo, who has since passed, was nearly blind, because of the diet his owner fed him as well as the lack of ultraviolet light in captivity.
“Deformities are pretty common in turtles,” Micinilio.
But Quincy’s deformity, the veterinarian said “would never have allowed it to survive in the wild.”
Eastern box turtles are land lovers. They could drown in ponds. As fall turns to winter they dig themselves into the ground or rotted tree trunk to hibernate.
At the Nature Center, the turtles lived in an open air but fenced-off, predator proof protected area from late April to late October. It has a dirt floor with growing vines and a raspberry bush.
“Eastern Box turtles have a built-in GPS,” said Sotir. “They live their whole life within a two-mile circumference. So if someone takes them and moves them, they spend their whole time trying to get back home. That’s how a lot of them get hit by cars.
They are listed as a vulnerable species which is a category below endangered.
“I tell the kids who come in here to enjoy them, be thankful that you saw them,” Sotir said. “But please if you see one outside don’t bring it home.”