As Texas grapples with record-breaking temperatures and heat waves, with Austin recording 105-plus temperatures for more than 10 days, life has become hard for all its residents. The smallest ones included.
Sasha Bulkley, a resident of Cedar Park, a suburb about 16 miles northwest of Austin, was biking in her neighborhood when she saw a couple of turtles trying to cross the street.
Concerned by the situation, she called her husband to come pick her in their SUV so she could load her bike and help the turtles.
“I drove the turtles to the Brushy Creek Lake Park across from my neighborhood, about a mile and a half away” Bulkley told USA TODAY.
Its the law:Texans, protect your dogs from the heat with these helpful tips
The next day, as she was headed to a pilates class, she saw two more turtles on the road.
“I stopped and realized there were many turtles spread across the sidewalk and in the grass making their way to the street. I had been keeping an eye on the pond because the water was getting concerningly low,” said Bulkley.
The Cedar Park resident said that the container she used to transport the first three turtles was still in her car, so she stopped and picked up 18 turtles to take to the lake and release them.
She then back to check if there were more turtles and found a couple of more to relocate.
“I checked the area by the pond every morning until the water dried out. In total, I was able to save 33 turtles within those last few days of the pond drying out,” said Bulkley.
Poor baby:Bear cub with head stuck in plastic container rescued by park manager, shared on Instagram
“I hate seeing animals suffer and I especially hate seeing them run over,” said Bulkley. “I even leave containers of water out in my yard to help animals stay hydrated in this heat.”
The Houston SPCA’s Wildlife Center of Texas also recommends leaving out a fresh clean source of a water like a birdbath for animals to help them cope with the sweltering heat.
“I just love animals and feel bad when I see them hurt or struggling. It’s never a question in my mind to step in and help,” Bulkely said.
She added that the turtles were at a risk of being run over because they could not climb the curb, which is why she moved them.
“With the pond dry, however, there was nowhere for them to go and taking them to the nearby lake seemed logical,” said Bulkely, adding, “I hope the turtles are doing well and thriving in the lake.”
Bulkley clarified that she hasn’t been in touch with the city’s animal control department regarding these turtles. However, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department says it’s okay to move a turtle and have shared guidelines on how to do so.
Meanwhile, Houston SPCA also says that unless turtles are injured, appear ill or covered in flies/ants, they do not need to be brought in.
“Uninjured turtles found on roadways are most likely looking to make their nest and should be helped across in the direction they were traveling,” says the non-profit working to meet the needs of animals in Houston.
Take a dip:These Austin pools are offering free admission through Sept. 30 due to Texas heat wave
Stay safe:Extreme heat has caused several hiking deaths this summer