Lopsided turtle gets CT scan to unravel winter mystery

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Photo by Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. 

Minnesota wildlife experts are trying to determine why a 17-pound snapping turtle with an unusually lopsided shell was found on top of a frozen pond in St. Louis Park in December.

The snapping turtle was found on Dec. 22 on top of a pond in Lamplighter Park, according to the BluePearl Veterinary Clinic in Eden Prairie. It was covered in mud and had a very large shell deformity, as well as an abnormal lung.

At that time of year, snapping turtles are typically settled in at the bottom of ponds and lakes in a hibernation-like state called brumation, according to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota.

Experts are hoping to return the turtle to the wild, but before they can do so they need to determine what caused the turtle to swim out of the lake and onto the ice.

Veterinarians at BluePearl will perform a CT scan on the turtle on Wednesday, using the same type of machine used by doctors on humans. The CT scanner will provide 3-D images of the turtle’s lungs and other internal organs to help determine whether it was a problem within the turtle itself or something in the environment that caused the turtle to surface in the winter.