Talk about shell-shocked.
Nearly 100 turtles are in the hands of rescuers after being thrown from a vehicle and scattered on Highway 58 Tuesday night.
It's believed the turtles were on their way to a market to be sold as human food. But now, the reptiles are up for adoption and some are in need of some TLC, including one our 17 News camera spotted a day after the crash, clinging on the side of the shoulder of the road.
It's one that managed to avoid being hit and escaped being caught Tuesday night around 7 p.m. That's when the CHP first got a call that bags of turtles were on the roadway.
"It wasn't very easy," CHP Officer Juan Vidal said about catching them. "They're pretty fast. Whoever said turtles were slow, they were wrong."
Officers, passersby, and rescuers with the Kern County Turtle and Tortoise Club corralled the turtles after some escaped from white nylon bags.
Now, they are staying in rescuer Kathryn Plunkett's yard.
Due to their age, 7 to 9 years old, and their breed, red-eared sliders, Dr. David Germano, Professor of Biology at CSUB, believes they were imported for human consumption.
"Likely given the way these turtles were bound up in bags, they were being brought to a market, an Asian market no doubt," said Dr. Germano.
98 turtles were caught Tuesday night. With the addition of the one 17 News found Wednesday, that makes 99 survivors turned from future food to future pets.
"I think they are pretty stressed out too, so the sooner the better they find real homes for them," said Kathryn Plunkett.
Several 17 News viewers, like Riga Cuadras, called the station wanting to adopt a turtle.
"I thought, let me save these turtles. I love turtles. I have a small pond myself," said Cuadras.
But, soft-hearted adopters might want to know some of these guys' hard shells took a beating hitting the pavement. Many of their shells were cracked, including the shell on the turtle we found. There were others in the same condition. Others shells even had spots that were crushed in.
17 News took the turtle we found with a cracked shell to veterinarian Paul Ulrich at the Bakersfield Animal Hospital.
"We can kind of stabilize this and see what happens. They are actually pretty tough, turtles and tortoises. And, they can take a lot of abuse and seem to do pretty well," said Dr. Ulrich.
Dr. Ulrich added some may need x-rays to determine internal damage and medications to alleviate pain and ward off infection. But, he says shells can heal, sometimes on their own, but often with the right care that can include a mesh to bond it back together.
"I hope that because you guys have put this out on TV, we'll have a lot of people wanting to come and adopt these animals," said Plunkett.
Plunkett believes about six turtles might have to be put down, but not the one 17 News found. The turtles will need a good size aquarium or a pond.
For more information on adopting a turtle, call Leonard or Kathryn Plunkett at 809-5527. There is no adoption fee.