Saturday, December 24, 2005

Baron gets a Taning Lamp

I was unable to take my pet Turtle with me to VT as getting live food is problematic and a heat outage could be fatal. The coldest it gets is around -3 and that is brief.
I have already endured three nights of -6 and it is going to get worse.

Reptile unlike you and I are cold blooded. Their body temperature is a reflection of the surrounding temerature. Baron loves no A/C in the summer and is comfortable at 90 plus. However , he gets uncomfortable as we get around 50. The area where his tank was kept had a draft and the water temperature was around 50.

I came home changed the location of his tank and he is 100% fine. He has a UV bulb and is enjoying a tanning salon. In fact he will not leave the heated section. The UV rays also restore his orange stripes to their fullest colors.

He is up there at 31 years of age and the lifespan of well maintained turtles of his species is believed to be fifty. However we know less about turtles then dogs and cats. The real number may be in the seventies as the availability of live food is a recent event in the last fourty years.

7 comments:

Always On Watch said...

Beak,
You have a turtle??? What kind? From you description, I'm guessing that you have what I call "a swamp turtle." I don't know the proper name.

I've always loved turtles. In fact, I have a sort of rapport with land tortoises. When I go to the zoo and visit the tortoise section, they always lumber over to me and stick their heads up to greet me. The zookeepers are amazed.

I have a similar rapport with box turtles. Hand me one in a shell and in less than five minutes, out comes the head. As a child, I always had several box turtles roaming the house, as well as the little green turtles we used to get in the dime store.

My box turtles would hide from everyone else--but not from me--and my parents were unfailingly amazed. Summer was not complete without my box turtles! Our acre-big garden drew them, I think; these creatures loved our tomatoes and, across the field, my uncle's strawberries. I would capture them, often in pairs, and release them here at my grandmother's house, where there was no garden for them to pillage. The box turtle will take a single bite out of a tomato or strawberry, then move on to the next one, so much damage can be done. My family relied on our garden for our winter's supply of food; we canned all summer long. Hard to believe that Fairfax County was once so rural, but I assure you that it was.

Once a female laid her eggs in a freshly plowed furrow--my father saw that happen, and it's very rare for a human to see such a thing, in person. We, of course, did not disturb that spot for a few years, but we never saw the hatchlings come out.

Back in the 70's and 80's, husband and I had a turtle here where we now live--a young Eastern box turtle. Every summer for many years, she would return to us and feasted on raw hamburger, tomatoes, and strawberries.

Sadly, I no longer see box turtles here where we live. This area is now too developed.

It is now illegal to keep box turtles as pets, I think.

In The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck (Did he repent of being a Communist?) referred to the turtle as "the wise, old head." For me, there is something appealing about turtles, perhaps because they are dinosaur-like. I have several knick-knacks which depict turtles, a collection of sorts.

Sorry for rambling on here, but I can talk forever about turtles. I don't care for snakes, however.

Turtles may live longer than we know, especially in the wild.

Always On Watch said...

Beak,
I bid you a Happy Hanukkah. I'm not sure that I've extended you that greeting in my previous comments.

And all the best in the New Year too.

beakerkin said...

My pet is the common red eared slider. The familiar pet with the green shell and red spot behind the eyes.

I have a male with long claws. The claws are used in courtship . Males are much harder on the owners and are miserable for about three months. These turtles are raised on farms as pets and as food.

He is an amusing little guy but no means as charming as a dog . He lives in his own world but has some interesting habits. He does know the sound of the microwave is associated with food and will bang his shell against the glass.

He also does seem to have a taste for human food . However it takes dicipline not to over feed him . He does seem to know the difference between fake meat and the genuine article.

Memo to our official troll . My pet has a distinct preference for poultry . We can not provide any safety for you if and when he gets hungry. He ate chichen last night and a bit of Turkey for lunch. There seems to be a glint in his eye on the rare time he gets a taste of Duck. Must be he has picked up the Anti Commie bug as your kind is correctly described as Chickens and Turkeys.

Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...

I used to have a snapping turtle named Raphael that I raised from a baby. It was really fun to go to the pet store to pick up goldfish to feed him. I'd drop a few in his tank and watch him stalk them down and snap them in half splattering fish stuff everywhere. When he got bigger he could swallow them whole, but by then he could take your fingers off. He finally got too big for his tank so I let him go near the Mississippi River.

He was a bad mofo. I used to fight him with a pair of forceps to make him a killer. Nothing I raise will leave my hand without survival skills.

Warren said...

When he was young, my son, (ever the amateur naturalist), had a "turtle farm", in the back yard. Alligator snapper, snapper, slider and terrapins all shared space and lived a life of turtle paradise.

We found out that all of them seemed to associate the color red with food. Tomatoes, strawberries, red apples or red wieners drove their stubby legs into virtual turtle stampedes at feeding time. :^)

Always On Watch said...

Beak,
I thought you might have that kind of turtle.

I never tried feeding poulty to any of our box turtles. If I find another one, I'll rectify that oversight.

I doubt that Duck will ever visit you in person.

Beamish,
Once, by mistake, the Five and Dime once sold me a small snapper instead of a rea-eared slider. That snapper bit off all the other turtles' heads; if I ran my finger alongside the outside of the glass tank, he'd try to bite. I didn't have to train him to fight. After three dead green turtles, my snapper became the only dweller in the tank. Of course, he started growing larger, and quickly.

One day, I stuck a pencil with a new eraser into the tank. He grabbed on, and I put him into a large tin can. I released him to a nearby swamp.

Warren,
Yes, turtles are attracted to reds and pinks. I forgot to mention that most of our box turtles also loved watermelon.

Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...

You let him go too early, AOW. Raph could have snapped that pencil in half. Now what's your turtle going to do when he encounters a pencil in the wild?

When I put Raphael in the wild he was almost as big as a house cat, and tougher than a two-dollar steak. He didn't take crap off of anybody.