A turtle’s shell not only awards it protection, but it helps identify what type of turtle it is. Sadly, a turtle’s shell can become cracked, which is a huge hazard for turtles roaming in the wild. Sometimes they’re hit by a car or harmed by another animal; a shell can even start rotting from an infection. Deformed shells can break, chip, split or crack all on their own.
EarthRangers explains that the inner layer of a turtle’s shell is comprised of 60 bones, which includes the backbone, breastbone and ribs. So when a shell breaks, it’s just like a human breaking a bone. A turtle’s shell also is connected to its body and the turtle grows into its shell, which has blood vessels and nerves running through it. A broken shell can become very serious very quickly.
To try to fix this problem a wildlife rehabilitation center in Iowa came up with a creative way to mend cracked turtle shells and women everywhere started mailing in their bras.
Wildthunder Wildlife & Animal Rehabilitation & Sanctuary in Independence, Iowa, discovered that bra fasteners of all things could quickly and easily fix a cracked turtle shell. The organization decided to put a plea on Facebook asking women to ship them the eyelet part of their bra fasteners.
The response was mind-boggling. Women from around the globe stepped up to help save injured turtles with cracked shells, the rehabilitation center’s owner Tracy Belle shared.
“The response has been out of this world! Ok so not out of this world but from ALL Over The world! I am blown away by the attention this post received! I want to thank each and every one of you who shared, donated or contributed in any way! Special shout out to my postal lady who has been handling all the extra mail coming in! Again, thank you to all!! We now have enough to help turtles for many years…”
The shelter quickly became inundated with bra parts and even entire bras, so once they had more than enough to help their ailing turtles, the shelter came up with another great way to recycle the donated bras.
“Wildthunder has had such an amazing response to our turtle shell ‘bra clasp’ post that we are receiving not just the ‘eyes’ or clasps but the entire bra. And that’s ok!!! We received so many of the clasps that there is no need to disassemble the whole bra, so we reached out to a homeless youth shelter and domestic violence shelter to see if there is a need and we found that there is! SO we are going to partner with Wildthunders Rain (my childhood sexual abuse and survivor program) and ask that if you would still like to donate those no longer used or wanted bras, we will donate them to these shelters. We ask that they be lightly used or new like condition and that postage is adequate if you would still like to donate. It’s a win-win!”
The need for other donated items is a constant at the rehabilitation center and Wildthunder shared on Facebook that interested people can send them flat sheets, bath towels, non-clumping clay cat litter, medical supplies and donations to help cover veterinary bills and specialized food.
“We need contractors to donate labor and supplies to help us build a much-needed flight cage for our eagles and owls and hawks. We need professionals to donate labor and to help repair the air conditioner (it may need to be replaced) and raise money for a new unit and to put gutters on the building. We need volunteers. Wildthunder is 100% volunteer-based. Wildthunder is a non-profit 501c3, run on donations and out of pocket funding. We want to thank all of you for your support.”
Another wildlife rehabilitation group in North Carolina, Carolina Waterfowl Rescue, has been using bra clasps to help as many as 40 turtles each week. Their turtles have fallen prey to lawnmowers, dogs and cars.
The turtles can spend up to eight weeks healing from a cracked shell that’s held in place with glue, wires and bra clasps.
Once they’ve mended, they’re released back into the wild, CNN reported.
Turtle injury rates spiral out of control in the spring when the turtles leave the safety and security of lakes and ponds to the Carolina shorelines where they lay their eggs. The process to set a broken shell is similar to that of a human’s broken bone. The staff glues the cracked shells shut, then holds them together with wire that is threaded through the bra eyelets.
Watch the video below and see just how clever this lifesaving idea is!
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