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A Boy and His Turtle

Thursday, June 11, 2009

You may remember a post from some time ago about the two baby box turtles we are fostering for eventual release into the wild here on Indigo Hill. Shelly, the smaller of the two, was found as a newborn hatchling in a flower garden on Fifth Street, a heavily settled area, where she'd have faced an even more uncertain future than a hatchling born in appropriate woodland habitat.

Shelly looks ahead. She's about the size of a lemon now, at a year of age.

How Shelly's parents found each other in midtown Marietta I don't know, but they had doubtless been abducted from outlying woodlands and brought as pets into town. The woman who found her is a caterer, and she pampered Shelly with all manner of good foods, including thin slices of hard-boiled egg. Shelly came to me at a few months of age, hard-wired to eat only egg, and it's been a fun and interesting experiment to bring her around to live foods and earthworms and Repto-Min Aquatic Turtle Food Stix, her staple diet now.

Shelly is Phoebe's to love until release day. Shoomie, the bigger one, is Liam's. Shoomie was born in captivity of turtles kept by Dr. David McShaffrey of Marietta College. The idea is for me to raise them until they're big enough (3/4 lb.) and their shells are tough enough to withstand predators, chief among them eastern chipmunks. Shoomie now weighs 6 oz. Shelly, 2.5 oz.

The kids love to take "their" turtles outside for exercise.

And I love to watch them with the turtles. I can see Liam disappearing into his imagination, feeling what it must be like to live in a shell and trundle around only an inch off the ground.

Shoomie covers a lot of ground when he goes on walkabout. Shelly sits and looks.

A boy, his turtle, and Chip, the Pig of Good Fortune.

Liam never lets Shoomie out of his sight. The name was Liam's, one of his many baby nicknames that stuck. He passed it to his turtle.

I love my tender little boy.

Chet Baker keeps an eye on the turtles, too, and gets nervous when they head for cover.

But Shoomie's in the best of hands with Liam watching over him.


I think we find turtles coool! because they seem like such ultra-primitive, living dinosaurs in miniature -- glimpsing them is like glimpsing eons into the past.
(on a sidenote, never knew they were threatened by those fierce, vicious eastern chipmunks!)

Chipmunks as predators? wow. Every day's a school day with blogs like yours in my reader.

Thank you. Just...thank you.

I love your turtle stories.
And I love your little boy stories.
Twice blessed when you wind both together.

Many of us were just like Liam. So sweet, inquisitive, adorable, sensitive, and gentle with nature. Other than growing older, we haven't changed too much. Right?

Thanks, Julie.

This post makes me chuckle. And sets me to wondering--where do the turtles stay when not on the loose? Chipmunks? Chipmunks prey on baby turtles? Who knew?
And how do you keep Chet Baker from trying a wee bite of turtle? I love the intense look on Chet's face.

Chipmunks! Really! I knew they preyed on baby birds and the like, but I didn't know they'd eat a turtle!

You have such a gift for sharing what a mother sees as she watches her kids grow up. There are those overbearing parents who demand you agree that their children are the most unique and miraculous creatures to ever walk the planet. You don't demand it of us. You show us instead.

Liam is adorable as a turtle parent. I am sure Shoomie will thrive. :c)

Chipmonks as meat eaters. I knew my chipmonks would run and grab fallen birdseed from one of my feeders, but I never imagined my birds might be in danger.

Just read it for a second time and it stills makes me feel good.

And today I read this with tears in my eyes. Yes, it is a feel good story, Sara.

Oh, this post makes me miss June, the car-injured turtle I hosted for thirteen years. I know and love that twist of the neck, and tilt of the head. June did that whenever she saw or heard something new, or perhaps, something not heard or seen for years. I need to call the rehabber to whom I surrendered her two years ago to see how she's doing. She (June, not the rehabber) was well into her eighties then. But she still had plenty of moxie -- which is why I decided she needed a better and more enriching home.

chipmunks also have crazy sex habits and eat baby bird brains!

And I have to say -- that's one wonderful kid you have there. (Well, actually, two, whose growing-up I am privileged to witness.)

I apologize for being such a repetitive reptile sap. Gotta get out more.

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