"Mom, look what we found crawling across the neighbor's driveway! Can I keep it?"
Do all Moms sigh when they hear that kind of exclamation, or is it just me?
I've been looking for a way to inspire my 3rd grader to WANT to research and learn.
Crud. I think I found it.
Stalling, I replied, "First we have to identify him, learn about his natural habitat, and see if we have what it takes to properly care for him."
We found a handy little website where we could identify our turtle by its shell. The results said that we found an Alabama map turtle. The Alabama part threw us off a bit since we live in Indiana and the "zone" this turtle lives in was a bit south of us. Needless-to-say, we questioned our results. Luckily, they had an email address listed and ENCOURAGED us to send photos so they could help identify our little friend.
While we waited for an email response, my little man named his new friend and fed him some carrot. (All the small turtles we researched had carrots listed as potential food so we tried some out.) We have a friend named Corey Tuttle, so at first he named his new buddy Corey Turtle...but then he changed his mind and started calling him TD. This name was short for TurDle. He is aware that the word turtle does not have a D in it, but that is how HE pronounces it, because he is nine - and everything is funnier when a turd is involved.
We were discussing whether or not I should post an urgent facebook plea: We need a large aquarium and a heat lamp for new family member. "Can anyone help a sister out?"
And then it happened...we got our email back:
This is a baby map turtle. I would try to explain to your son that the best thing for this turtle would be to be released back home in a nice, safe place. Then, it can grow up healthy and keep the local turtle population going. Most captive turtles do not survive long.
This little guy should go back home...where he belongs.
I think there is a little part of me that loves Andy Highfield.
You see, in our research we learned that map turtles can live about 30 years.
Of course, in captivity, they don't often thrive...so they die much sooner due to lack of proper care. Hmm, that doesn't sound much better.
As I felt the weight of "pet responsibility" looming and was processing our need to buy special equipment and
My son, with his 9-year-old-bleeding-heart, decided to let TD flourish in his natural habitat. We had a little ceremony and let him back into the wild - and I let out a very different kind of sigh.
This post is linked up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers Weekly Wrap Up and Homeschool Mother's Journal