Say hi to ‘Lucky’

 - Brian Kelly
— image credit: Brian Kelly

USELESS BAY — If not for a speedy rescue by Marge Wicher, “Lucky” would have become a bump on the road.

Wicher was driving along Sills Road late Wednesday when she spotted a tiny turtle on the roadway. Curious, she pulled over, and with the help of Sherry and Don LaPlant from Bayview Kennels, pulled the wayward reptile out of the way of speeding vehicles.

Good thing, too. On that winding stretch of Sills Road, speeding cars typically hug the edges of the roadway as they speed through the “S” curves on the winding rural road.

Wicher and the LaPlants have no explanation on how the turtle ended up on Sills Road. Was it an abandoned pet? A native turtle far from home?

By its markings, Lucky appears to be a western pond turtle, one of six species that are native to Washington.

According to the Burke Museum in Seattle, the state is home to two types of freshwater turtles and four sea turtles.

Even so, the western pond turtle is thought to be extinct in the Puget Sound lowlands, according to the reptile field guide on the museum’s Website. The western pond turtle population has been in decline due to the loss of nesting spots near streams and wetlands because of development, and predators consider the young turtles as tasty treats because their shells are soft and can easily be removed.

Beyond figuring out where the Sills Road turtle came from, the trio of rescuers had even more trouble coming up with a name for their little friend.

Finally, they decided “Lucky” fit the bill.

Don LePlant said he would put it by the pond on the Bayview Kennels property, but he added with a laugh, “We don’t board turtles.”

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