Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Baby Turtles Update ... Again

Who you callin' baby?

If you torture yourself by reading Pure Florida on a regular basis, you may be familiar with the continuing saga of the baby turtles. If you're a newbie (welcome!), you might want to check out this post for how the turtles and I met.

The turtle breakdown so far:

One has passed. My fault...dammit.

Two are living with a fellow science teacher who is gaga for the carapace/plastron crowd.

One is making a little boy happy. He calls me "Hey Turtle Man" when he sees me ... his grandma works at our school and he's there in the afternoon. Grandma says if she had known turtles were so easy, she never would have gotten him that puppy.

One went to live in Mom's goldfish pond, but seems to have left.

Six are still living with us at PFHQ, waiting for the pond to fill.

Our six are doing great. They eat amazing quantities of turtle food and lettuce. They come to me now and will take turtle food from your hands. I think Emma taught them it was safe to do so.

Somewhere in the archives are at least two other baby turtle updates and one of them (Turtle Soup?) has a pic of the a tiny turtle in this soup spoon.

Same spoon above, but the turtle fills it much more completely these days. This turtle was very cooperative ... who knew turtles had such a sense of balance?

Of course, most of these turtles are destined to be released. I just keep dragging my feet and finding excuses not to do so.

I'll probably keep two as true pets, let two go in the pond, and then one in the Suwannee and the other in the Waccasassa rivers.

Now it's fall again and I hate to let them go just prior to the harshest weather of the year. Seems to me a spring release would be best ...what?

Why yes, I am making excuses for keeping them around just a little bit longer. Guilty as charged.

The pond is marshy these days after some good recent rains, but still so low that I expect it to dry up over the winter. It's not really ready for them yet. In the meantime, the turtles could use some bigger digs, so I'm thinking about an old livestock tank I was saving for some aquaculture time/money waster. It could make a good turtle tank until next spring.

The turtle above is the biggest, but the rest are closing in fast. The distinct variation in sizes that existed for the first six months is melting away as they all are growing so well. It's getting hard to identify Squirtle, the tiny runt of the litter. I suppose I should give credit to ReptoMin turtle food as it seems to be supplying all they need for healthy growth. If it's not made in Florida, it should be, because it's a good product.

So rest easy, the baby turtles are fine.

One less thing for you to worry about.


Anonymous said...

Why, they're just as cute as a bug in a rug!

debbie said...

They are SO cute. I second the motion that you keep them safe until spring. The bigger they are the better they will be able to protect themselves.

kathy a. said...

hey, i was going to say they are cute, too! love the boy calling you Turtle Man.

robin andrea said...

They do look like they'd make great pets. I hope you do keep them until spring, just to make sure they have an easy time of it on their own. I thought of you this morning when I read this story in the Santa Cruz paper. Check out this turtle.

Ava said...

Thank you for sharing the turtle pictures and the turtle stories! I envy you the experience. I had a pet turtle as a kid and I know how fun and adorable they are.

threecollie said...

Love those turtles...and my whole garden pond is a stock tank. They work great.

Mrs. S said...

Wow, are they ever getting big! I think you should just put off the release date indefinitely and make them the official Pure Florida mascots. I'm sure they'd have easier lives with you than out in the wild with all those yucky predators, anyhow ;)

Plus, then we can continue getting not-babies-anymore-but-still-turtles updates!

ArtfulSub said...

Cute. What are you doing for that BlogActionDay thing? I need ideas.

It falls on Mute Monday.

pablo said...

I was wondering how the turtles were doing. Glad to see they're just fine.

Do you have any concerns about salmonella (sp?). Aren't turtles vectors for it?

Thunder Dave said...

Wow, now I know "Rat Man" and "Turtle Man", two super heros of animal preservation! ;-)

edifice rex said...

Wow! Their coloration/ patterns are great. Their ( the turtles)faces remind me of the tattoos of the aboriginal Hawaiians.

Sharon said...

yes, I agree you should wait until Spring. :) Babies sure grow up fast, whatever the species...

Deb said...

We recently had to face the choice of keeping five turtles indoors over winter, or releasing some of them before the water got too cold. Three of them are now acclimating in the pond, just in time.

Floridacracker said...

Agreed. Very endearing for a reptile.

My thoughts exactly.

Kathy A,
The kid is a cutie too. He loves his turtle.

I will check out that link after responding to comments tonight.

I had several too as a kid. They are pretty fascinating.

I'm on it!

Mrs. S,
Tempting, very tempting. Official PF mascots.
It has a nice ring to it.

I have not chosen a specific focus yet, as almost every day here is environmental. I suppose I should do something special, but it's not shown itself to me yet.

Good point. The dimestore greenies that we bought as kids were notorious for it due to crowded dirty conditions.
Turtle farms these days sell certified salmonella free babies. I just follow the same handwashing protocol that I use after handling those salmonella bags known as chickens and I change the turtle water daily. These guys are wild and I've had them since the egg, so they may be pretty salmonella free.
Definitely a concern with any pet reptile though.

I don't think I've ever told the story of the rat in the Gremlin here at PF ... could qualify as a new Stupid Things I Have Done tale.

A possible pottery design? All PF readers should go to Edifice Rex and see her pottery.
It's beautiful.

Too, too fast.

Good idea to give them some time. I imagine your Minnesotarctica turtles would laugh at our turtles version of winter.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

No worries. If you are taking care of/looking to the future, I got no palpitations.....

jojo said...

Hey FC, any tips on how to keep the water cleaner? I have two in a 150 gallon tank and i swear it turns green by day 3. When you have 6 how in the world do you keep it clean?

i've given up on filters and devices, they aren't working either.

And if you start doing the research on the aquaculture? please keep us updated, so i can learn from you!

SophieMae said...

Yes, they do grow up so fast. Pretty dawgawn cool turtles. Do their little brains not 'learn' how to survive in the wild if you keep them too long? Or are they totally infallible instinct?

Loved your little slice of red velvet from the fridge! I've heard of cooling them off to slow them down for a photo session, but I'm still being stubborn about cheating. I've been tempted, though, and I'm sure the day will come that I crack. 8-}

momadness said...

awww...they grow up so quickly!

Thunder Dave said...

ROFLOL - I was actually talking about my friend up here "Rat Man Rod" AKA "Turtle Wrangler". However since you brought it up, your right that would make an excellent Stupid Things story!

Lightnin' is now concerned that I actually have two friends nick named "Rat Man". I guess I can let her in on the story. ;-)

Floridacracker said...

The future of turtledom is safe.

Mine are living in a large rubbermaid type container with no filter. I dump the water daily, because as you say,it goes green quick.
That's why I want to move them into a planted livestock tank.
Aquaculture around here has been on hold after a very fun successful couple of years raising Tilapia in a homemade system.
Now the state won't issue Tilapia permits to small fry like me, so my next go at it will be something native without restrictive permits and regs.
I'll share as it comes into being.

I think instinct is pretty hardwired, but I may be causing them to be too familiar with people since they are a game animal here.
I'm just following in the footseps of Marty Stouffer and the Croc Hunter. Stage the shot if needed.
It's the shot that counts to me, not how I got it, although harming the critter is not allowed, which is why I was urgently blowing warm air over Miss Scarlett.
FC is not a purist :(

Way faster than I thought they would.

Ohhhhh,,,that rat man ...

anonymous one said...

me again. my guy in prison is taking a community college correspondence course in biology, and having a hell of a time with it. the course work evidently consists of filling out SAT-style multiple-guess-question forms. there is no contact with nature whatsoever. i'm glad he's trying, but if he could even see the photos on your blog, that would be something more. he would be thrilled beyond words to see the baby turtles [or most of your cast of characters] in person. a single tutoring session with you would make a huge difference. sigh.

Floridacracker said...

Anonymous One,
I'm honored by your comment and I wish I had a quick fix for your guy. I know you must be proud of him for tackling such a tough subject while he's in prison. It seems like a prison would make use of all the biology tutoring web sites that exist out there.
Keep supporting him so he'll hang in there and good luck to both of you.

Sandy said...

The turtles are really growing and I'd keep them until Spring. When you release them will they naturally know how to hunt for their own food in the wild?

anonymous one said...

well -- guys in prison are not allowed access to computers. thank you for the encouraging words, though!

i think maybe i'll get him a book about the bird man of alcatraz.