Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Turd-le?

In my life this week...
"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:
Dear Becky,

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.

Best wishes,
Andy Highfield

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 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 dead flies or fish turtle food, the response from our trusty tortoise expert brought hope. (read: this could be a way OUT)
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


  1. What a cute turtle! I'm sure it was sad to let TD back into the wild, but it sounds like it was the very best thing you both could do for him. We had predator drop 2 baby Robins in our garden last spring. With research, we found the same - let them go. We could here the Mama in the woods so we (without touching) coaxed them into the woods and hopped for the best.

    1. Neither my husband nor I are bleeding hearts when it comes to animals, so it has been an interesting turn of events to have a little animal lover in our midst.
      He has not been the only one who has learned through this process.

  2. What a cute turDle! No wonder he wanted to keep it. I think he made a wise choice. thirty years.... that's quite a commitment. LOL

  3. Love the TURDle statement! I would share it with my kids, but then it wouldn't stop :) Way to help TD out. Poor Evan! He has such a big heart :)

  4. And here I was with two spare fishtanks in my shed....

    I learned about turtles the hard way—specifically, what they eat, once placed in a fishtank: your prized clown loaches.


    1. Andy, I will keep your spare tanks in mind. Snakes came up in conversation today, so (over my dead body) we might need it.
      And I am SO GLAD we didn't put TD in the tank with our fish! The trauma that would have ensued. Ours are probably not prized by any being on this entire earth...except for a particular 9 year old boy.

  5. What a great response from Andy :) I'm glad he spoke to your son's heart - and you didn't end up with a 30-yr-old turtle for a pet!


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