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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Meet My Turtle Family


Yes, it's that time now. It's time for you to meet the Writer's Pets! Usually, this is a section reserved either for adorable cat antics, or for goofy dog tongue-hanging-out pictures. But you get to meet the Shelled Ones.


Darwin, my Red-Eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) is my first ever turtle, and my first ever reptile pet. Darwin was a Craigslist "rescue" in need of a bigger tank, proper lighting and heat, and some serious change in diet.

Darwin is easily the most interesting pet I've ever had. For one, he is a serious and fearless basker. He takes his sunning time beneath the UVB heat lamp with all of the grace and aplomb of a tanned sun worshipper. I should've named him George Hamilton. Where most turtles will leap off the basking dock in fear of even their keeper, Darwin will stare at me, stick out his neck toward me, and let me touch noses with him through the glass. He greets me with enthusiastic splashing, has learned to attract my attention for food by slamming his foot loudly and repeatedly into the outflow of his filter (he stops when he sees me walking his way, and if I leave again, he'll start it up once more), and turns into an angry, ravening beast whenever I pick him up for routine tank cleaning.


Dante, my Ornate Box Turtle (Terrapene ornata ornata) is certainly a character. Dante is my second turtle, and was my own personal quest to save a seriously ill critter. He was kept on a substrate which is toxic to box turtles, severely dehydrated, with sick, puffy eyes, and seriously underweight, I couldn't help but leap into action to save him. According to his previous family, Dante had been with them for 10 years, on the same toxic substrate, with little water, no humidity, and the worst diet ever.

Our initial time together was not pleasant, which probably why he still occasionally gives me the red-eyed stare of irritated wariness. A couple of vet trips to my Exotics Vet, two sessions with the vet's Dremmel to wear down his overgrown beak, one sudden beak shattering, and me having to push food into his mouth so he would eat and...after a year he's now in terrific health.

I call Dante my "grumpy old man turtle," because really, that's what he's like. He likes to stomp around his enclosure, king of his domain, and if my hand makes it into his land he gives me the imperious eye. It doesn't help that his eyes are devil red and it gives his fiercest glare more weight.


Poe, my Concentric Northern Diamondback Terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin terrapin) is my purebred puppy and ridiculous kitten all rolled into one. I allowed myself to buy Poe Captive Bred from a breeder, and I received the little one as a quarter-sized, stunningly beautiful hatchling. I'm still unsure if Poe is a male or female, but either way his enthusiastic, insanely curious nature has me in love with him, umm or her. There is literally no stone in his tank that he's left unturned, and he'll sniff at practically everything with the intensity of a bloodhound. With his wriggly nature, I've had to redecorate his home more than once, both to give the growing boy (or girl) more room, and to keep him from getting stuck, like the kitten with its head in a can. He even begs with splashy, puppy-like insanity. Long story short, Poe is the cutest tortuga ever.

I hope you've had fun meeting my Shelled Ones! Tune in next time for my post "Ten Reasons Why a Turtle is Not the Right Pet for You."

2 Comments:

At March 10, 2012 at 9:17 PM , Blogger Carmen said...

I love how dedicated you are to your shelled critters, and how you saved Dante (the turtle who went to Hell and back).

 
At November 6, 2012 at 1:55 AM , Blogger jake tindell said...

i love my TINNY SAMUNELLA TIM 2 (thats my turtles name) he just like my pitbull mean and crazy. He comes up n snatch's the shrimps wright out of my hand. and he follows me wen im near from one end to the other. hes cute

 

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