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WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — West Memphis Animal Shelter authorities rescued more than 75 turtles from the city’s sewage treatment plant this week after they got stuck in the pipes.

“A lot of turtles are always looking for water, so they don’t know difference between a pond and a sewage pond,” said Trent Stacy with the West Memphis Animal Shelter. “They get sucked into the pipes and then put into another area the water gets dumped into.”

The shelter got a call this week from the city’s sewage company, who needed help with the dozens of turtles stuck in their tank, at risk of drowning or consuming contaminated water.

The animal shelter gathered up whatever they could, like nets and kiddie pools, and went in for the rescue.

“I was laying on the ground scooping turtles, felt something on my legs, and I was actually laying in a fire ant mound,” Stacy said.

But what made it all worth it: the turtles were rescued over the course of two days.

“Seventy-six turtles saved,” Stacy said. “A lot of them were hanging on the sides just trying to stay afloat, so they would not have survived.”

They were all brought to fresh water that eventually dumps into the Mississippi River.

Stacy said this is the first time they’ve ever gotten a call about turtles. He said they will go back Saturday to check for more because more continue to pop up in the water. He’s not sure why all the turtles are going into the sewage tank.