GERMANTOWN, Wisconsin (CBS 58) — When Katie Wiedmeyer saw an injured snapping turtle lying in the middle of Division Rd. in Germantown earlier this summer, she knew she had to do something.
“I pulled and turned and my kids were waiting in the car and I ran out and saw she was injured and tried my best to move her,” Wiedmeyer said, thinking back to the evening. “Where her injuries were made it really hard for me to pick her up.”
The self-proclaimed animal lover wouldn’t let that stop her from helping out. She took her kids home, grabbed a shovel and container to place the snapper in, then went back to the same location to do what she could.
“I love animals, I always have,” Wiedmeyer said when asked what inspired her to help the creature. “I came right back and started calling every nature rehabber I could find on Google that day.”
She eventually came in contact with Pine View Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, a non-profit organization that specializes in helping to rehabilitate birds, reptiles, amphibians, foxes, coyotes, and badger.
“Without the people who call and bring us these confessions, we wouldn’t be able to function and the population would be so far down,” explains Kristen Bustamante, hospital manager at Pine View. “It’s always great to have people willing to call and make the journey and the effort to catch up and bring us these confessions.
Unfortunately, the snapping turtle Wiedmeyer who helped rescue suffered serious injuries, leading to a decision to euthanize so he wouldn’t suffer. Though sad, Wiedmeyer’s efforts were not in vain.
“Fortunately, with our turtles we can save the eggs she was going to lay,” explains Bustamante. “I got 46 eggs from her, which is a great outcome.”
The turtle Wiedmeyer had tried to save was a female crossing the road to lay her eggs. The experts were able to incubate those eggs, creating an atmosphere similar to what it would have been like if the mother had laid them in the loose, warm gravel by the side of a road.
“We have a perfect amount of sunlight and the substrate we have is something that will retain moisture, but not as easily as soil where it doesn’t get muddy,” explains Bustamante. “We try to mimic as best we can how they would be laid. So we kind of have layers of eggs. We obviously don’t try to put them on top of each other because when they hatch they will hatch. They don’t all come on the same day from.”
Bustamante says the eggs are expected to hatch in late August or early September. Once they do, the snappers are observed for a week before being released into the wild. It’s a moment Wiedmeyer and her children look forward to participating in.
“My kids and I are super excited that we can help bring them back to nature and give that. That’s the example we want to set,” Wiedmeyer said, hoping others will follow her family’s lead. . “Take care of animals, let them have their home, respect that this is their home too.”