I wanted to update you on my new pet Shelldon. When last we blogged, he was an injured resident of the backyard and I was gathering info on his care and feeding.
My new neighbor Irl has some expertise on critters since he worked for the Dept. of Agriculture for many years as a microbiologist, and interacted with vet students from Auburn University on a regular basis. He took one look at Shelldon and pulled out his pocket knife! I said, “Irl…What are you doing???” He just smiled and poked delicately into the large crack on Shelldon’s back and assured me the that the crack didn’t extend into his soft tissue. Whew! I thought for a minute that Earl had a hankerin’ for turtle soup! He further suggested that some super-glue might be helpful in the damaged part of his shell. Pardon me for being skeptical, but I Googled this remedy because it sounded a bit cray-cray to me. Lo and behold, this is a common remedy for cracked shells and helps keep out infection into the turtle’s body while the crack grows back together. Sorry, Irl! I will never doubt you again!
In addition to helping me with Shelldon’s diagnosis, Irl printed out a lengthy article on how to care for box turtles. It was a huge help so I got started on planning a good turtle diet for my new pet. It turns out that turtles have a diet very similar to humans except for the part about processed food. A good rule of thumb is to feed him any kind of fruit, protein, veggie or starch that he is likely to find in the wild. So you would never feed your turtle Doritos right? Of course not, but other foods are less obvious. Would an Alabama box turtle likely find tasty bananas in the wild? Not so much, but the rule can be stretched here, because a turtle from Bolivia, might indeed find this food in his habitat. A turtle would never find any dairy food in his environment, so cheese is RIGHT OUT! Buster was happy to share his herb garden with Shelldon, and I noticed immediately that he liked parsley, romaine lettuce and basil. He wouldn’t take any food from my hand at all until I tried BANANA!
OMG, do turtles like bananas! Interestingly this is Buster’s favorite treat too. For protein, I dug up some worms from my garden, and found some slugs living under a big water bowl in the back yard. (My life is rich and full) He took those from my hand too. The two water bowls I keep in the yard are large enough for him to take an occasional dip, and I’ve seen him enjoying a little float more than once.
Over the next few days, I found him hiding in various shady spots in the yard, but I didn’t see him venturing out very much. On about the fourth day I noticed that he was casually strolling in the grass with his head high. I thought it might be a good time to let him meet some new friends so I brought out the welcoming committee.
As I write this post, I must report that it has been over a week since I’ve seen him. I am hoping he’s just found a really good hiding place, but I fear he’s somehow gotten out of the yard and moved on to another turtle domicile. Wherever he is, I hope he’s safe and far away from cars. 🙂 I’ll let you know if he returns. I really enjoyed having him in my backyard and would love to have another shelled creature again soon.
Here is your dose of “cuteness on crack” for the day…