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A Walk With Murtle The Turtle
About three months ago, I rescued Murtle The Turtle from the roadway. I was sure I would not get to her in time, as I was walking from my truck to where she was, sitting in the middle of the road, a school bus and two cars went by, narrowly missing her. When I got to her she was tucked into her shell and would not look out. She stayed that way until I was almost home, at which time she finally felt brave enough to stick her head out and find out what was happening. Murtle is an amazing little girl. She has never once shown fear for me, learning to take food from my fingers the first time I offered her to. I was pleased to see she was willing to eat whatever meat I offered her, since I was having difficulties finding worms...a big surprise since we have had so much rain. I offered her a piece of turkey ham in a strip, she ate it, so I offered her the same in a square...she ate that to. I went to the store and got a can of whole oysters. She was pleased with those.
Murtle doesn't hide away in her shell, she is very curious and interested in all that goes on around her. Whenever someone walks by her tank, she raises her head and follows them. She doesn't duck away or run when I reach for her. She has never once attempted to bite me in fear or aggression. She has mistaken my fingers for the food I was offering her, but that is a natural mistake anyone would make in her shoes...er shell. During the day, I put her outside in a big water trough with rain water in it, she enjoys swimming around and eating the unfortunate grasshoppers that land in it.
When late afternoon or evening comes, I bring her in. But I don't carry her, at least not most of the way. I let her walk it. When I put her on the ground, she willingly sets out on her little trip. As you can see from the video, it takes us about seven minutes to walk the length of our trailer...about seventy feet. You can also see she is not afraid of the cats, she stops top wait on me, and she responds to her name and my voice. She has learned to trust me and gives every indication that she is content with her life as a captive turtle. Perhaps she feels she is safer with me than in the wild.
When I first brought her home, she fit comfortably in a five gallon aquarium. I hadn't realized how much she has grown, until I watched her one day trying to turn around...she almost got stuck. So when we went to town, we went to Petsmart and I got her a larger aquarium with a wide base...it was actually designed for lizards, frogs and small turtles. She seems happier in it. I will get a picture of her in it to add to this tomorrow.
I really am surprised at the quickness of her deciding to trust me, and adapting from a life in the wild to one in captivity. I think it shows a certain amount of intelligence...perhaps more than most would credit them with. I never realized how much fun having a turtle could be...You don't really think of them as interactive pets...but she certainly is that and more. Yesterday I bought her some frozen smelt, a fish used for bait. She seemed pleased as she tore into her first one, and her second one to.
It is my hope in sharing this story with others, I can show that turtles are intelligent, they make great pets...and hopefully people will think about these things before they kill, eat, or see them on the road (so try not to hit them, please.). I do apologize early in the video I lost track of Murtle because the sun was preventing me from seeing what I was filming.