Thursday, December 20, 2007

Turtle Antics

I've always been a turtle fan, but until Millie my only pet turtle had been a rather slow moving tortoise (land turtle). I didn't expect much different when I inherited Millie, a red eared slider, from my niece (originally a temporary thing, but it seems to be becoming more permanent). But Millie (originally Milton, until we decided it was a female) turned out to be quite entertaining. I'm not sure if this is true of all red eared sliders or whether Millie has more "character" than usual. She is definitely energetic - spending large amounts of her day swimming, digging, climbing, trying to lever the filter off the side of the tank, etc. She's quite attentive to what's going on outside as well. When she sees me get out her blue feeding tub she goes nuts swimming and splashing and trying to get to the food. Of course, she also spends a fair bit of time sunning and sleeping, but even that can be entertaining because of her goofy poses. As I was eating breakfast yesterday she settled to the bottom in this pose:

She stayed in this pose long enough for me to go and get my camera. At first she appeared to be sleeping (eyes closed) but as I moved around taking pictures she opened her eyes and gave me a look as if to say "What?"

The cute 1" baby turtles you see in pet stores are also red eared sliders. What many people don't realize is that they live a long time (30 years?) and get quite large - up to about 12". Millie has grown noticeably over the few years I've had her and she's probably 8" or 9" long now. (I know, I should be metric!) She was originally in a 20 gal tank which I quite soon replaced with a 50 gal. Now that's started to seem small for her and I've been looking at 90 gal tanks (or bigger). One downside of these turtles is that they should probably be renamed "turd-les" since they produce quite large quantities of crap, usually shortly after you clean the tank. Keeping the tank clean requires a fair bit of work.

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