Monday, December 11

Not Just Another Pet!

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Turtles have been on Earth for millions of years.  People forget that they are reptiles and follow reptile rules in all matters of their lives. 

I have two turtles, a female and male, my knowledge of these prehistoric animals have grown just like them.  I got them both when they were small little guys.  They used to swim under little rocks and would be able to sit in my palm together and still have room to spare!

That was five years ago, turtles never stop growing,  (a little tidbit I found out from my vet) and they are a good size now.  The female weighs around six to eight pounds and the male weighs around four.  He will always be smaller than her due to the mating rituals.  He also has super long nails which are also needed for mating.

When it’s the mating season, he will start the mating dance.  Even reptiles can be graceful!  He swims towards her, positions himself face to face with her and gently he uses his nails to stroke her face.  It can take hours for him to place himself in the right position.  It is something to watch!

The two of them can eat forever and ever!  I used to feed them everyday, now it’s every second day and if I go away for a few days, I buy feeder goldfish for them to eat.  They love their fish alive and raw. (remember they are reptiles!!)  I enjoy watching them chase the goldfish around and then catch them.  I asked the vet awhile back what else can I feed them when I am away?  He said “crickets”.  The vet also said that the turtles might not know how to eat a cricket because they never did before.  The vet said I might need to teach them how.  I told the vet I will not stand there and flap my arms and pretend I am a cricket!  Besides, I couldn’t stop laughing! 

Red Eared Slidders need to bask everyday.  The upper and lower shells need to dry, totally.  If they don’t dry their shells, they can get soft shell.   This minute I only have the one tank which does not have enough room for both to bask.  So, I put them in the bathtub.  Some people lie in their tubs to bathe, others have yesterday’s drunks in the tub.  Not me!  You will always found two turtles in there, both trying to get out!   She has even laid eggs in the bathtub!  They can stay in the tub for up to six hours, then they should go back into the water.  Red Eared Slidders do everything in water.   They have to eat in water because they gum their food and then they gulp water to push it all down.  They also mate in water.

Turtles can see and hear.  They will be still with their noses and eyes out of the water, listening if I have friends over.  The male is very curious and in the summer I take him ouside on the balony.  He follows the sounds and movements of people.  He stretches his neck and boy, it’s long and slender.  The female is shy, she keeps her head in her shell til she is totally sure of what, I don’t know!?

To me, turtles are great pets.  They are truly amazing to watch.  I thought that they wouldn’t  have personalities at all.  I thought reptiles, crocs, snakes, etc. were not like other pets.  I was mistaken, the turtles have very different personalities.  He is curious, active and such a guy.  She is careful, holds her own, a real female! 

One last thing about turtles.  They live for a long time.  Red Eared Slidders can live for seventy years.  Now I need to rewrite my will!

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