Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Turtle Trauma

Remember the red ear slider turtles that my parents gave Cate and Sarah for Christmas?  Well - it has turned out to be quite a saga.

First we brought the turtles home and immediately transferred them from their little homes to a grand mansion of an aquarium we have had sitting in our garage for months.  It came equipped with cool rocks and plants and we thought it would be turtle heaven!

We plopped Speedy and Rosie into their new home and anxiously watched to see how they acclimated.  They swam and dove and we called it a success.  Except they wouldn't eat.  And they wouldn't come out of the water to bask - which we read they were supposed to love to do.  They spent all their time in the water (except when they got manhandled by my kids).

My parents - lovers of all animals - volunteered to take care of Speedy and Rosie while we were gone to Atlanta.  All was well until the day after we got back.  My dad had some bad news - the turtles had died the night before.  Nobody had a clue as to why.  But my parents had already called our neighbor who was in St. George and asked her if she would bring home two more turtles to replace the deceased.  They were to arrive later that evening.

We decided that we would give this turtle thing another try.  Wes and I went to the pet store and came home with a few supplies - just to make sure we were providing our turtles the best home.  The new turtles arrived - they were assigned the same names as the dead ones.  But these new versions of Speedy and Rosy were very different.  They would never swim.  They would just sit with their eyes closed and bask for hours and hours and never move.  If we put them in the water they would swim for a while but then the next thing we knew - they were basking again.  And again - they would never eat.  It was a mystery to us because we were doing everything that the experts said to do - a basking light, clean water, we even had a thermometer to track the temp of the water, etc.  It was obvious our turtles were not doing well.
Here is our set-up.  You can see the turtles at the top of the ramp.  They must have just crawled out of the water.
One day we came home from some errands and found Sarah's turtle floating in the water.  Dead.  Ugh.  We put the turtle in the freezer and broke the news to Sarah the next day.  She cried at first but got over it pretty quick.  Immediately we figured there must be something wrong with the aquarium.  We removed Speedy to a separate tub to see if we could nurse him back to health.  He is still alive but the prognosis doesn't look good.
Poor Speedy.
We have drained the tank - and you can see Speedy's isolation tub. 

With one rabbit, two cats and a six foot long boa constrictor - I think we could be considered a "pet family" but I am starting to think that maybe turtles just aren't our thing.

At least the turtles will have some good company in our small but growing pet cemetery.  Those buried there include "Streak" the frog, "Cheezit" the gold fish, a baby robin and "Mopsy" our Netherland dwarf rabbit.  May they rest in peace.

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