Turtle found in Dania Beach recovering after surgeons pull balloon pieces from intestine

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - An adult snapping turtle that was found on the side of a Dania Beach road is recovering after surgeons removed pieces of a balloon from its large intestine.

Veterinarians at the South Florida Wildlife Center are attempting to restore the reptile’s appetite, but they were not having much success on Monday.

“Here she is, so we put food in there so she can eat if she wants to,” said Dr. Amanda Grant.

The veterinarian said surgeons found a considerable amount of balloon pieces in the turtle’s innards.

“Like sunshine yellow, and it was all wound up in there. The intestine was all shrunk down around it,” said Grant.

Passers-by brought the turtle to the center on June 18 after finding her on the side of a road.

“She had a large, long piece of red ribbon hanging out of her mouth,” said Grant.

A coat of paint was covering the animal’s shell and tail.

“The pink’s weird. We have before, very rarely, seen where turtles have been painted unnatural colors by people. Why? Who knows?” said Grant.

But animals injured by balloons and other debris is nothing new in South Florida. Doctors said balloon releases are often the culprit.

“We just don’t know how far they’re going or all the damage they’re doing, here on land and in the ocean,” said Grant. “Don’t leave it for somebody or something to find it, because they will.”

Surgeons were able to remove the balloon pieces after performing delicate surgery up under its shell. Now they’re just hoping the patient will begin eating normally again.

“She’s bright, she’s alert, snappy,” said Grant.

Doctors will eventually remove what’s left of the pink paint.

“I don’t know why. I think they’re pretty beautiful just the way that they were made,” said Grant.

Doctors are calling the turtle female because of the pink paint, but they have not been able to determine its actual gender.

The reptile continues to rest and has a feeding tube. Caretakers hope she will be well enough to be released in a few weeks.

Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.