It may be tempting to cut the line, but a Canadian wildlife refuge is begging fishermen to always check what they’ve inadvertently hooked.
The advice comes after Hobbitstee Wildlife Refuge in southern Ontario took in a sick turtle with a hook stuck in its mouth.
“This poor midland painted turtle was found sitting beside a hiking trail by a kind person who spotted the hook sticking out of his mouth,” the refuge posted on Facebook Tuesday.
The turtle was initially taken to the Lincoln County Humane Society in St. Catherines, which in turn sought the help of Hobbitstee and a volunteer to drive the turtle there.
Once the folks at the refuge took a look, they realized something was seriously wrong.
“The hook had been in this turtle’s tongue for some time and we are dealing with a bad infection and necrotic tissue,” the group explained.
“Removing this hook when this just happened would have been a 5 minute job for a professional with a really good chance of recovery, now the turtle is so sick he is fighting for his life.”
So now, the facility is asking anglers to remember one important thing when out fishing.
“Fishermen: if you hook a turtle don’t just cut your line!”
Instead, scoop up the animal and get it to a rehab centre, humane society or animal services agency. They’ll be able to get the hook out quickly.
Hopefully, this little fella defies the odds and makes a full recovery.