Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My "Pet" Turtle

Today, I had a dental appointment at 11 o'clock so I needed to head out of the house at a particular time. Since I had not seen my dentist in over a year (thanks to my 7-month Dijon hiatus), I decided to dig out of my closet and try on a t-shirt that I had not worn in over two years; it fits again!

As I made my way down the driveway towards my car, my attention was diverted to a small dark circular object lying adjacent to the mailbox. My mind didn't register what was going on. I blinked. I leaned further down to confirm what my eyes were interpreting.

There, baking on the cracked sidewalk, was indeed a very small turtle. I did one of those gasps that results in you simultaneously having a large, stupid grin on your face. I looked around. I live in a suburban area that is considerably turtle-less, so I wonder where and how this stray creature arrived in front of my house. There is a canal in my neighborhood but it is too far for it to have crawled all the way. Could someone have carelessly discarded it? Who knows?

For the time being, this nameless turtle shall be known as Turtle X.

What's the first thing you do when you see something out of the ordinary? You tell someone else.

Fearing it becoming overly dehydrated, I picked it up using a clean paper towel (I still couldn't control my "ick" factor), filled a plastic container with some water and temporarily placed Turtle X in it. It squirmed a bit and tried to escape. I noticed from its little webbed paws (claws?) indicated that it is indeed acclimated to water. It also has claws that it probably uses for walking on land.

I'm not a fan of reptiles, but I admit that Turtle X does have something cute about it. Its teeny, tiny claws, the markings dotting its round shell, its minuscule head that it contracts and expands cautiously as a defense mechanism.

This all probably took five minutes and I soon made my way to the dentist, the same one I've been seeing since I was 8. I'm glad to report that my teeth are in great health (zero cavities) and that when I told my dentist that I would be returning to France, she granted me nearly a whole box of those sample tubes of toothpaste dentists hand out. They have whitening power, too! (Cross one item off my list.) For one moment, I felt like the Toothpaste Queen.

I went back home to Turtle X and breathed a sigh of relief that it was still very much alive.

The question lingered in my mind: what does it eat? I fully admit my ignorance as to what this cold-blooded herp chows down on to survive, and I don't want to end up with the tragic story of a starved turtle on my hands. What could it possibly eat? Worms? Grass? Bugs? Lettuce? Carrots? Macaroni and Cheese?

(Turtle X doesn't seem to appreciate its decor of the sink drain. It probably thinks it's a prison for plates and cups.)

My grandmother seems all for keeping it. I suspect that this little turtle evokes nostalgic memories of the time when she had a small plot of land in Colombia where she raised chickens, ducks, goats and even had a turtle or two. I'm trying to prevent myself from getting too attached to Turtle X because I still have to see what my mother's reaction is (God, asking for her permission makes me feel like such a little kid). I doubt she will want a pet turtle; we already have enough on our plates with a vicious Demon Chihuahua. She'll probably tell us to just release it into the wild (ie, the neighborhood canal) where it will surely die at the beaks and jaws of predators.

Although, I guess what really will be better for Turtle X would be to let it fend for itself against the hungry canal ducks and fishes. I suppose it beats a life living in a prison-like plastic container, no?

However, if Mom does accept to keep Turtle X...I will need some name suggestions for it. :-)

Barb the French Bean

Update about Turtle X:

Well, Mom came home and said that it would be in Turtle X's best interests to be back in its natural habitat (not the scalding sidewalk). It would not have been practical for us to have kept it.

She also momentarily had the crazy idea that we should release my temporary pet to walk inside the house. Based on a friend's superstitions: if a turtle shows up at your house, it is good luck to let it roam indoors to remove any bad vibes/spirits.
Yeeeeeeeeeaaaaah...I'm not very keen on having a turtle as a rabbit's foot.
(Here's Mom checking out our temporary house guest.)
Still, Mom was not just about to let Turtle X into the wild before introducing Maddie to it. I was a bit wary when she placed the plastic container on the floor, but thankfully the Demon Chihuahua turned out to be a chickensh*t docile host.

She immediately fled from Turtle X to the highest throw pillow on the couch.

Yes. Turtle X is gone now. I really hope that it safely makes it big in this vast world.

Thanks for all the name suggestions. ^.^


  1. My good friend has a turtle or 3 if you want me to get you in contact with her to discuss caring for him/her?

    Also, names, definitely after one of the Ninja Turtles!! DEFINITELY.

  2. Looks like a softshell by the nose, but I can't really tell.

    As one whose little sister has kept an unfortunate tortoise captive in a cardboard box in the kitchen for the past year, my personal suggestion is to release it into the lake between DM and the business building on campus. Not only are there fewer predators, there are meal handouts from the easily amused freshmen. :)

  3. Aw, he's kinda cute!! Much cuter than the
    $#%ing toads that are all over my place!

  4. shamrock, clover, green bean, cute moss. suggestions for names.

  5. Aww it looks just like the turtles I used to have. I might still have some turtle food if you need some and I might also have the little cute tank with its palm tree ^^

    -Coffee Bean

  6. ZOMG! Oh! Oh! I know! If you can name it, name it Turtle! :D Isn't that so creative?! I don't even know how I came up with that! (No.. I'm kidding... But you can name it that if you want to)
    This post amused me. ._.

  7. Aww, that is cute! I kinda hope you keep it too, but yeah, if you're being all unselfish and crap it probably belongs in the wild.

  8. Again, thanks everyone for your messages and suggestions. In the end, it was better for Turtle X to be back outside swimming around.

    -French Bean

  9. Great to care for the little guy. In the future may we all keep in mind that wildlife are not to be taken captive. Regardless of how cute they are.

    I found turtleforum.com to be very informative on both wild and pet-trade turtles. May it help you help the little guy live a joyous life!!



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