Thursday, May 14, 2009

Box Turtles for "Pets"

I am not an advocate of turtles for pets, but we have two. We adopted our box turtles (Lady Lous and Mister) from a school the girls attended last year; the school felt my family could care for them better. With a potential lifespan of 100 years (only 50-60 years captive), people really need to think about the commitment involved before buying a turtle. We try to raise our turtles in their most natural environment possible. We provide a place for them to hibernate in the winter and feed them only foods from a natural turtle diet. Right now, they are are just waking up from hibernation, so they are very hungry.

This is Lady Lous and the typical look she gives us humans.


Here is Araina getting Lady Lous' lunch ready. (Araina is responsible for Lady Lous, Fauna is responsible for Mister).

Many times a week we go outside and dig up worms and grubs for them. This is an easy job in the spring, but once the weather turns dry it is much harder to find worms. I don't like feeding them worms from a pet store, we know our worms are organic! Yum, yum, what did you have for lunch today??


"The Lady" (actually, I think Lady Lous is a male) dug right in!



I kind of don't mind feeding her the japanese beetle grubs, they really did a number on the roses last year!


Tomorrow will be an easier day of dandelion greens and clover (and Mister's favorite....raspberries).

We love our turtles! I am fascinated with their cute little expressions and have grown very attached to them, but I DO NOT recommend them as pets unless you are up for the commitment! Here's to another 50-60 years Lady Lous and Mister!

24 comments:

Sherry said...

Wow! That was a big pile of worms & grubs! I didn't realize turtles would eat so much at once. Very interesting post. :)

Tara said...

I don't know why but I expected them to be much larger.... I guess it is more manageable if they are smaller.

Interesting creatures.

I'll bet they enjoy the dandelion greens and clover :0)

dongdong said...

He-he... the school is smart to give them to you. ;) Talk about commitment. I have trouble with our pet hamster who I think have a life span of 2-3 years. Maybe because I haven't figured out this homeschooling thing and don't have time for much else. :-P

Mom, M.Ed. (Jessica) said...

I love box turtles! I had one as a "pet" for a little while when I was a child. My father saved him after he'd gotten tangled up in some fishermans fishing line.

Ours loved Brussels sprouts! Go figure. We released him when he was well...

I'd love to have another! Yours look so sweet!!!

Manic Mother said...

Turtles and birds are very long term commitments! Exactly why I don't have either! Great pictures.

Amanda said...

I'd love to know more about how you've set up an area in which they can hibernate. I'm fascinated.

Tammy said...

Emily had a African side-necked turtle years ago, and she's had a red-eared slider for the past couple. They are definitely fun to watch. This newest one was the size of a quarter when we got her and she's as big as my palm now.

mydisgruntledlife said...

My maintenance man brought me a teeny-tiny baby snapping turtle. o_O I was highly annoyed. So we took it to a pond and let it wreak havoc there. :)

Pink & Green Mama said...

We've got plenty of grubs to share around here too!! I would be happy to feed them to the turtles. I guess they don't bite your girls? I'm glad you're having a positive turtle experience. They have a tank full of them at our nature center and the community center and my girls LOVE to watch them swim. They have cool feet and funny faces!! I remember the turtles would eat the feet and mangle the baby geese at the pond when I was a kid. :(

Lori said...

i love turtles as pets, but i always consider them *temporary* pets. ;^)

we kept a tiny baby snapper last year that washed up in a spring flood, and we let him go at the end of summer.

we have a red slider right now. (sigh.) but again -- he's a "local" turtle so we can release him into the wild eventually.

we've kept a box turtle, too! usually until s/he escapes. ;^)

Lisa said...

I've considered letting them go...to be free. I don't know where they came from, if I knew they were native I would let them go. I hate keeping them captive

Stephanie said...

Awesome.
Turtles and frogs are my favorite animals. Well, and my babes, of course.

Stephanie said...

Also - you could go to your local bureau of land management pages and look up native species.
And you could set them in an area in your yard to see if if they can hunt and survive on the local fare.
??

Lisa said...

They definitly could survive on local fare....that's all we feed them. I am going to contact someone (at our park district) and see if it's ok to set them free. Thanks for the tip Stephanie.

Anonymous said...

Lisa have you thought of growing your own worms. Compost worms are really easy & prolific, live on your own lovely vegetable waste and provide nutrients for your garden too. Elsie from Australia.

Lisa said...

Elsie, I'm a dork for not thinking of that....we keep talking about worm composting, didn't even think of the turtles. Thanks for the great idea!

Shona said...

such great pictures! lol about the beetles, they attack my garden every yr too. cute turtles

Simply Mother said...

How funny, my 5yo was just reading a newspaper article about caring for turtles today! I don't think I'm up for that kind of commitment though! But I bet your girls love it!

* TONYA * said...

My husband and his room-mate had 2 turtles when I met him. They ended up giving them to a very good home when they realized how much work they were. Kudos to you for raising them.

Louise said...

Great pictures and thoughtful words. I so agree with the comitment sentiments. It looks like dinner time for the lizards at our place, and they also are temporary pets-

Anet said...

Very cool! I love the photos.
So kind of your family to take care of them:)

Fairly Odd Mother said...

Please don't delete this post! I love the photos, your comments and your obvious caring for these creatures. I had no idea they lived for such a long time---you are right that this is not a pet for someone with a short-attention span! Good for you for trying to keep their lives as natural as possible.

julie said...

Hmmm...Don't absolutely take my word for it, but I read *somewhere* that box turtles have a homing instinct, and that it's actually better not to release them, because they'll make out for where they think they're supposed to be and get into a lot of trouble, obviously, trying to get there. I also read that they're starting to become endangered, perhaps, so lots of luck lavishing care on your "babies" for the next hundred years!

I, too, am now going to be waiting with bated breath to hear about your convo with the Bureau of Land Management--another home-schooling adventure!

Lisa said...

Julie, you are right about the homing instinct. Don't worry, we are keeping them. They will live a very spoiled turtle life with us. ;)