Roofus the baby turtle rescued from roof

HARROWING ORDEAL: Brave Roofus the loggerhead turtle survives against all odds with a little bit of luck. He was rescued off the roof of a St Francis Bay home
Supplied HARROWING ORDEAL: Brave Roofus the loggerhead turtle survives against all odds with a little bit of luck. He was rescued off the roof of a St Francis Bay home
Image: SUPPLIED

Just how does a turtle end up on a roof?

Marius Scholtz, who rescued a little hatchling turtle off the roof of a St Francis Bay home on April 2, believes it was picked up by a seagull or another bird — judging by the chunk of flesh missing from its left flipper.

The turtle is now undergoing rehabilitation at Bayworld.

Scholtz, who works at Ozone Marine Communications, found the turtle when installing an antenna on the roof of the St Francis Bay home.

“I had to install an antenna which was required as part of a base radio installation on roof of one of our clients.

“While looking for a path for cabling, I saw what I thought was a little sea turtle toy.

“It was lying there, at about 5pm, in the sun.

“I saw its head move. It barely mustered all its strength to lift its head [and] I realised it was alive.

“One of our client’s employees retrieved it and gave it to me,” Scholtz said.

He noticed the turtle’s left front flipper had a chunk missing from the tip and presumed a seagull or a bird had dropped it onto the roof, he said.

Scholtz hastily scooped seawater from the port harbour, which he said wasn’t the cleanest unfortunately, to try to rehydrate the turtle, which he said looked like dried biltong.  

“I left him in the water that was in an ice-cream container and he slowly started showing a little more life.

“His flippers started to move [not] just his head, but he was still lethargic.

“I searched online, where I found Two Oceans Aquarium.

“Their page explained what I should do [and] I contacted them.

“They guided me on how to care for the little one.”

Scholtz said the turtle had been named Roofus.

FIESTY FELLOW: Roofus, who has a chunk missing from one of his flippers, is recovering at Bayworld
Supplied FIESTY FELLOW: Roofus, who has a chunk missing from one of his flippers, is recovering at Bayworld
Image: SUPPLIED

Scholtz said he had later learnt that it was better to use fresh water for the turtle, so he changed the water in the container.

Roofus was then taken to Bayworld in Port Elizabeth for rehabilitation on April 3.

Bayworld Seas Turtle Rehabilitation Section curator Ruth Wright said Roofus was a loggerhead turtle.

“The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species on a global scale assessed the loggerhead in 2015 as being vulnerable in terms of extinction risk.

“Only two of every 1,000 hatchlings will survive to reach adulthood, which is one of the reasons the staff at Bayworld were so excited to hear about Roofus.

“Scholtz performed a miraculous rescue with help and guidance from Tracy Whitehead at Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town,” Wright said.

Turtles can lay 100 eggs in a nest that is dug on sand and then covered up. The mother turtle then returns to the ocean.

AGAINST THE ODDS: Staff at Bayworld say only two of every 1,000 loggerhead turtle hatchlings survive to reach adulthood
Supplied AGAINST THE ODDS: Staff at Bayworld say only two of every 1,000 loggerhead turtle hatchlings survive to reach adulthood
Image: SUPPLIED

“The hatchlings after emerging crawl to the beach water.

“They are preyed upon by ghost crabs, ants, birds, wild dogs and in the surf zone they are preyed upon by birds, fish and sharks.

“Loggerheads lay their eggs in Northern KwaZulu-Natal.

“Due to storms, winds, spring tides and rough seas, hatchlings get washed out on beaches like St Francis, where I believe a bird picked it up,” Wright said.

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