A turtle's narrow escape from death has led to a life in the lap of luxury.
Trinity, the red-eared slider turtle, was found on Heta Rd, New Plymouth in October last year, the victim of a hit-and-run accident which left her with a badly-cracked shell.
She was rushed to New Plymouth Vet Group, where Dr Robert Mills reattached part of her shell with fibreglass.
The story made the front page of the Taranaki Daily News, attracting the attention of local animal lover Ben Buscke and his partner, Margie McLean, who gave the turtle a home.
"We called her Trinity she's named after a cat we rescued who died from leukaemia she was a real fighter," Mr Buscke says.
Mr Buscke, who owns Ultrawash (a fish care business), has eight years' experience as an aquarist in Queensland, where a big part of his job was treating wounded turtles.
Thankfully, Trinity's injuries weren't internal, but Mr Buscke knew she'd need ongoing specialist care.
"Because turtles shed their shells like snakes as they grow, every second week I had to grind the shell up with an official grinder and re-fibreglass it and I needed to be sure no water could get in," he says.
Now, seven months later, four-year-old Trinity is the picture of health.
And it's no wonder with a diet rich in prawns, scallops, fresh crayfish, whitebait, garden worms and the very best turtle food money can buy this robust reptile lives like royalty.
And it hasn't taken long for Trinity to become accustomed to her special privileges.
"She's so used to having all the good stuff in life and if she doesn't get it, she gets stroppy and turns her back on you," says Mr Buscke.
Although Trinity lives in a 1.5 metre-long glass tank, she still enjoys the outdoors.
"She has her own pond outside, which we heat up for her during winter," says Mr Buscke.
This is surely one turtle that has proven that cats aren't the only pets that can land on their feet.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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