Peanut rubber band 1
Peanut rubber band 1
peanut rubber band 2

Protecting our Precious Peanut

Posted:8/1/2019 Linn

By Meredith Glynn

Linn County Conservation Naturalist Intern

 

Several rescued animals reside at Wickiup Hill Learning Center, and every one of them has their own special story, including a recently acquired painted turtle, Peanut. There are many reasons not to litter or bother the wildlife and Peanut is a living example of what happens when wildlife is neglected.

On June 28th, 2019, staff from Pinicon Ridge Park in Central City received a call that a turtle appeared to be in some trouble.   Peanut was found with a rubber band around his shell. We do not know if this happened by accident or if it was done intentionally. This rubber band caused his shell to grow deformed into the shape of… well, a peanut! Judging from the size he is now and the size of his shell where the band was, more than likely, the band has been around him for over five years. If the band had been left, he would not have been able to live a full life, his shell would not have been able to grow and it would have crushed him.    

Not only can rubber bands do this to animals, the same thing happens when trash like pop bottle rings get stuck around wildlife. That is why it is recommended to cut the rings of six-pack carriers before they are thrown away. We are not sure if there is any internal damage, but we hope to get an X-ray soon. Peanut will stay at the Wickiup Hill Learning Center to help educate the public on the dangers of plastics and trash on the wildlife. At the Wickiup Hill Learning Center, we have lots of wild turtles in our wetlands, including painted turtles. Painted turtles are native to North America, generally living in marshes, ponds, lakes and creeks. They can often be seen sunbathing on rocks or aquatic plants. They eat fish, worms, insects, plants, and can live up to 40 years. The shell of a painted turtle is made of bone plates called scutes. As they grow, they shed their scutes - leaving a ring on the new one.  

Come visit Peanut and our other rescued animals at the Wickiup Hill Learning Center. We hope that everyone will learn a valuable lesson from what happened to Peanut and be inspired to help protect the creatures we share this planet with.

We hope to see you soon, and register for a program on September 12 introducing you to Peanut.