Pet Insurance For Turtles – The water-loving reptile is found wandering the desert, injured and alone, and while Cryptida’s identity is still unknown, she is healing and thriving.
Our world is full of mysteries, myths, and legends—sightings and phenomena unexplained and unconfirmed by science, which nevertheless gain a foothold in our collective imagination and remain. When that mystery is an animal often claimed to exist but never proven to exist, it is called a cryptid; think Bigfoot, Chupacabra or the Loch Ness Monster.
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Well, recently Best Friends Animal Sanctuary welcomed our little mystery. And while the Cryptid definitely exists, there is much about the curious turtle that remains unknown. What we do know is this: she was found far from where she belonged and needed help.
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When you become a Best Friends Animal Society member by making a donation of $25 or more to the animals, you’ll receive a year’s worth of Best Friends magazine. Inside, you’ll read about what Best Friends is doing to save the lives of homeless pets across the country.
The story of this Cryptida began when she somehow wandered alone in the desert sands. She is, unequivocally, a species of turtle, and turtles live in water—though even if she had found a stream or pond, she still wasn’t native to the area. She was very, very on point, and somewhere along the way she got hurt. Her shell was broken.
Then, as mysterious creatures sometimes are, she was spotted on the side of the road. A kind person stopped to check on her, saw the injury and decided to help. He brought her home and tried to take care of her and give her what she needed to heal, but there was a case of mistaken identity. Given where the Cryptid was found, it’s not unreasonable that its finder thought it was a desert tortoise. When she needed water to swim and bugs to eat, she was given a dry tank and rations of fruits and vegetables.
Over time, Cryptida’s shell began to heal, but her general condition did not improve. The person who found her started looking for help — and when he met a woman with turtles and knowledge about reptiles, he asked for her help. She saw immediately that his mysterious creature was not a desert dweller at all; The cryptid was a turtle and needed professional intervention.
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So she turned to Wild Friends, a state and federally licensed wildlife rehabilitation and education center. That’s where Cryptid’s long road to recovery could really begin.
When Cryptid arrived at the Sanctuary and was examined by the vets and rehab team, her old injury was the least of her worries. Her entire shell was gray and patchy, with shell rot, poor nutrition, and scars changing it from the healthy black it should have been. She was also overweight, the yellow skin bulging around where her head and limbs emerge from the shell. And, worst of all, the skin on her head and face was missing.
She was in such a state that her species was completely unknown. She wasn’t a snapping turtle, or a soft shell species, or a painted turtle native to Utah. In fact, it didn’t resemble any species common in the United States.
“We talked to several experts in Utah and Arizona,” says Lauren Ross, a Wild Friends caregiver and licensed rehab sub-permit. “(And I even) posted on reptile forums — people were arguing about it.” The answer that came up the most was that the Cryptid might be an Asian leaf turtle, but even the experts weren’t entirely sure.
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So the effort to get Cryptid back into top form began in earnest. A turtle’s shell, just like human hair and nails or horse hooves, is made of keratin and is constantly growing. If they are injured, they can grow back as new with proper care. So the Cryptid wasn’t particularly difficult or tricky to treat, but it would take time and patience. Every morning, caregivers apply antibacterial cream to her shell and let it soak in throughout the day. Then, at the end of the day, she gets a nice scrub under the faucet to remove what’s left.
“(Exfoliation) also helps regenerate the cuticle by scrubbing in small circles,” Lauren explains. “It’s just time-consuming and it’s just going to take time because she has to shed all those layers.”
The rehab team also “dry docks” the Cryptid for several hours a day. While a turtle would normally climb a rock or log to soak up the sun’s heat and UV rays for a while, the Cryptid refuses to come out of the water on its own – perhaps not surprisingly, given how long it’s been without it. But that dry weather is just as important to her health as bath water.
With proper care, Cryptida’s skin has healed over the once exposed bone and she is slowly getting back into shape. She doesn’t have much of an appetite for her new healthy diet; a year of tasty but not very nutritious junk food seems hard to move on from.
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“She still has a long way to go,” Lauren says, “which is unfortunate because the wound wasn’t terrible, but the treatment she’s going to have to get is going to be long because she was treated like a turtle and just had the wrong care.”
Cryptid is in a good mood though. When the rehab team works nearby, she gets supervised research time in the office and she takes full advantage of it. She enjoys climbing over shoes (and occasionally getting stuck behind) and zooming at top turtle speed to find new things to play with. She is not at all shy around people and it is quite impossible not to be charmed by her ever-inquisitive personality.
Whether Cryptid will eventually be able to go to a new home or stay at Wild Friends as an educational ambassador has yet to be decided. She needs more time to heal and her species is still a mystery to be solved. But her future is now in good hands, and whatever she holds, she will have an important message to share.
For now, Lauren will help her with that: “Don’t try to save wildlife alone. … Please take them to a rehab center or a vet instead of trying to do it yourself.” All pets have maintenance costs, such as food and water, but exotic pets like turtles require much more.
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In fact, simply getting a turtle can cost between $600 and $1,200 when you factor in the cost of the tank, lighting, and other accessories like grilling platforms.
And the costs don’t stop there. A turtle’s diet also consists of fresh fruits and vegetables, and may include mice and insects, which cost more than regular canned pet food.
To offset the costs, many companies today offer pet insurance, including those for exotic pets like turtles, for coverage.
But if that’s not enough to convince you, here are specific reasons why your turtle needs pet insurance.
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Veterinarian visits, whether for regular checkups or treatments, cost a lot because of the equipment used and the procedures performed.
For turtles, this may include x-rays if your turtle is injured or testing a stool sample to detect gastrointestinal problems.
More importantly, there are few veterinarians trained in reptile care, as noted by the California Tortoise and Tortoise Club.
Furthermore, as an exotic pet owner, you would be required to take your tortoise for check-ups at least twice a year.
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Shell infections are caused by fungi, bacteria, or parasites, and if left untreated, these infections can penetrate their shell and cause ulcers or even infect the underlying bone.
These infections can cause abscesses to form on your turtle and need to be treated surgically. They would also need topical medication to help with their recovery.
Furthermore, veterinarians who have knowledge of treating exotic pets would charge more because of their specialized level of expertise.
Exotic Pet Care would cover the cost of treatment and medication in case your turtle faces these diseases.
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Sound Dollar describes how exotic pet insurance considers the type of pet being covered, its age, health status and needs.
Choosing a health insurance plan that covers major accidents and illnesses is highly recommended for those who have turtles and other exotic pets, as again, medical expenses can be expensive in these situations.
In our article, “How Long Do Pet Turtles Live,” we discussed how turtles can have a lifespan of decades.
This is a long period of time compared to regular pets, and as such we want to ensure they are cared for throughout their lives.
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Is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Do you have a pet turtle? Are you thinking of getting one? Turtles make great pets, but they require unique veterinary care