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Archive for April, 2004

Turtles

Tuesday, April 13th, 2004

We bought some turtles from my friend Harold Becht at work last Thursday. They are red-eared sliders, and are about a year old. They are about the size of a silver dollar each. Harold had ordered 50 of them from someplace for really cheap. We picked out the biggest one and smallest one we could see. He had all 50 of them in a 20 gallon tank in his basement. They are really quite entertaining watching them swim around. These turtles really can’t be described as slow, it’s a challenge to keep them from jumping off your hand.

Right now we have them in an 11-inch bowl with an island in the middle and a palm tree. Filling it up with water up to the level of the island still doesn’t give the turtled much swimming depth. I’ve read that you should provide a pool that is 1.5 to 2 times the length of the turtle so they can free swim around. The bowl we have now is good for easy cleaning and rinsing the gravel and it’s cute. However, I think I’d really like to get something about 5 or 6 gallons in size with a water heater and water fall so we don’t have to change the water too often. The hardest part will be where to put it so that we remember to take care of the tutles.

Ethan and Moey really love the turtles so far. Moey even instantly learned the work “Turtuh”. Initially their names were “Crush” and “Squirt”, but we encouraged the kids to pick more original names. After a while, Ethan came up with a truly Ethan-ish name, “Leafwotah” (LEEF-WO-TAH). We call him “Leafy” or “Leaf” for short. Ethan’s is the larger of the two. Moey would point to the turtles and say “Datun” a couple times so we decided that it would be a good name for her turtle. Datun’s shell has quite different markings from Leafwotah’s. For the first two days they were somewhat docile, but now they are quite active.

Our bowl tank doesn’t have any way to keep the temperature up and for the first day or so we didn’t have a lamp on it. Now we have an old 60W desk lamp bent over the tank that we leave on except for at night. I think the turtles have ben much more active since we added the lamp. From what I’ve read they really like water that’s 70 degrees plus, though I still don’t know that our lamp changes the water temp that much. We were told that the turtles would climb out of the water to bask in the heat lamp, but I haven’t seen them up on the island once yet.

What I’ve read about Red Ear Sliders has sounded interesting. I hear that they get into the habit of begging for food by coming up to the edge of the tank and opening their mouths. According to some web pages I’ve read, they can live up to 75 years and get up to 12 inches in diameter. Though I don’t know if we’ll make it to 75 years, it’ll be fun. I’ll try and get some video up soon for y’all.

If any of you readers want a turtle like this one, Harold is selling them from his online store: http://turtleguy.com

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