How Are Bra Clasps Helping to Mend Injured Turtles?

An unconventional solution to a big problem


(Mark_Kostich /

What’s the least likely object that could fix a wildlife crisis? Hint: this one is in just about every woman’s closet.  This past month, the Carolina Waterfowl Rescue reached out to its Facebook friends for an unusual, yet common solution to the increase in turtle injuries; bra clasps. 

The Animal rescue service continued receiving turtles with cracked shells and other injuries caused by contact with lawnmowers, cars, and boats. When it came to deciding how they could mend the shells using available resources, they took notes from another wildlife rehabilitation organization, Iowa’s Wildthunder Wildlife and Animal Rehabilitation and Sanctuary.

“If you’re discarding a bra you can cut the clasps off and send them to us we use them for turtle shell repair,” the Carolina Waterfowl Rescue organization said. Late last month, Wildthunder posted a message on their Facebook page, asking for bra fasteners so they could “use them to pull the crack in the turtle shell together to help it heal,” they explained.

Spring is an especially dangerous time for the turtles; when they take to the shoreline to lay their eggs or are swept out of their habitats due to rainy weather, they’re more susceptible towards harmful interactions with heavy machinery and automobiles. The Carolina Waterfowl Rescue has seen around 40 injured turtles a week that need medical attention for painful fractured shells. Currently, there aren’t many tools available to treat these wounds, so veterinarians must find other solutions for treating these wounds. 

This is where the bra clasp comes in. Wildlife experts glue the clasp’s hooks and eyes to opposite sides of a fracture and then use a zip tie around the clasps to keep the shells in place. When vets are sure the shells have healed, they take out the clasp and release the animals back into their habitats.

Keenan Freitas of the Carolina Waterfowl Rescue says the clasps are a brilliant way to save these sweet critters. 

“It’s just these little ingenious things that people have created in the past, that we can use today to help animals out,” she told WBTV.

“You can recycle something that would go into a landfill,” Freitas adds. “And I mean, they’re helping a turtle. Who wouldn’t want to help a turtle?”

According to the number of Facebook interactions and people who mailed clasps to these organizations, many civilians are eager to help out these reptiles in need.

“We are just overwhelmed with people offering to mail us clasps,” Carolina Waterfowl wrote on June 30. “[W]e will have way more clasps than we can use now.”

The organizations said that while they have enough clasps, they still need funding for medical supplies and food. Any small contribution can make a big difference.

“Please just donate the money you planned to spend on shipping [the bra clasps],” Caroline Waterfowl wrote on Facebook. “If everyone did this the turtles would never want for anything again.”

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