Turtles- don’t do it!

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Like most people I have had the average gambit of pets: fish, cats and dogs. Never ventured into birds or small rodents because my mother is allergic to chipped bedding.

I’m not sure why I gave in a year or two ago and did what you should NEVER do and bough a MALL TURTLE. I think I  was unduly influenced by the person I was with. I remember asking the man “will this thing get big?” and of course he said no and of course they did.

For inflammations sake let me say this, see the beautiful red stripe? This guy is called a Red eared Slider and he can grow to the size of a dinner plate or larger. This I found out when I took him to the pet smart to get him something bigger than the bo bo plastic carrier they sent me home with. It is actually illegal to sell baby turtles before they are a certain age, this I also found out later.

So I took them home (oh yes I got two) and set up a really nice aquarium for them. Two things about turtles: They grow fast and they stink to high heaven. I had to scrub the tank at least once an month and more frequently once they got bigger, big hassle.

Now let me say that I am a turtle lover. They were amazing to watch swim and sun. So much cooler than fish. I even liked feeding them minnows and watching them hunt. But I just couldn’t provide a space that was healthy for them, they needed more room.

We ended up releasing them into a local river. Now I need to clarify, this was a BAD choice. I should have tired to find them a different home. When we release captive animals into a native population it endangers all of the native species by putting more competition out there and exposes them to diseases that they might not other wise come in contact with. I say this because I have vowed never to do this again (along with de-clawing a cat) and I don’t want anyone to think that I condone it.

So I have decided that if I ever get another turtle it will be a tortoise. No water, takes a long time to get bigger. I have learned my lesson.

Never by a pet from the mall, never buy a pet you don’t know how to care for. And if you find that it is not possible to keep them,  find it a good home no matter how long it takes.

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4 responses »

  1. Excellent point! There’s a hermit crab stand in the mall near my place and they actually are pretty hard to take care of.

    • I know in college I was very tempted by the hermit crabs, they were the only “pets” we could have in the dorms, but I resisted. I know now that I would rather wait and have a pet be rescued or come from a loving breeder who cares about their animals then support animal cruelty.

  2. I love looking at turtles, and probably would have fallen into the same trap you fell in if Nick hadn’t put his foot down. Ah well. Your bold points are excellent. And if you ever do get a tortoise, let me know so I can live vicariously through you 🙂

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