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Turtle fun facts and rescue information

Credit: Kidsday illustration / Alexander McGuirk

Did you know the word turtle comes from the Latin word chelonia? If you did or just happen to like turtles, then this is the article for you! My Aunt Karen Testa has a turtle rescue center, called Turtle Rescue of the Hamptons, in Jamesport. I went to see her facility and to ask her questions about the center.

The main objective of her turtle rescue center is to rescue, rehab and release. She was inspired to start this rescue because turtles are often overlooked. If you ever see a turtle crossing the road take it in the direction it was going but put it down in a safe location, like in the woods. At the center, everyone is a volunteer, not a paid employee.

In the center she has two categories of turtles — permanent residents and patients that will be released. She has favorites from each group. Her favorite permanent resident is a diamondback terrapin named Lola. Lola got hit by a boat propeller and almost got injured in the spine. She is partially paralyzed and can’t survive in the wild, but has a good attitude. Her favorite release was an Eastern box turtle named Pearce. He had a rusty nail penetrate his shell and walked around and lived like that until she found him.

Now for some fun facts. You may think common snapping turtles are scary but really the only reason they get snappy is to protect themselves because they can’t run away. Box turtles got their name because there is a hinge in their shells that covers all of their skin that no animal can penetrate. For any questions you can visit:, or call 631-779-3737


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