Homecoming for Hutch the injured turtle

Hutch the southern broad shell turtle has returned home to Lake Wyangala last weekend after being nursed by wildlife carers who found him when he had swallowed a fish hook.

The turtle, of a species rarely seen on land and usually found in deep water, was accidentally hooked by a fisherman at Wyangala Dam in March and taken to a Wildcare member in Young.

Although the hook was stuck in its mouth when caught, the turtle swallowed it the evening he was found and x-rays from a Young vet showed it was lodged inside him.

Maryanne Gates, president of Wildcare, who looked after the turtle in Queanbeyan, said she was originally going to take him to Sydney to have the hook removed in an operation.

If the hook remained inside him it could have torn an organ or cause peritonitis, she said.

However a further x-ray before the operation showed the hook had disappeared, and probably dissolved inside him, she said.

Last Saturday Ms Gates released Hutch on the shore of Lake Wyangala before he headed straight for the water and swam off for its deeper areas.

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