Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Please Do Not Pet the Turtles

I was at an aquarium once and saw cute little turtles swimming in a small pool. I reached in to touch them. I looked up to see an employee giving me a stern look. Then I immediately noticed the sign next to the pool "Please Do Not Pet the Turtles." Oopsy. Well, don't be like me! Heed my warning. See how I segued there. Clever, I know.

As some of you may know, I am a turtle lover and owner. I love my turtle, Wasabi, and he loves me too. ;) But I DO NOT recommend keeping turtles as pets, especially the small ones.

You can buy cute tiny red-ear sliders in any chinatown for a couple dollars. But do not be fooled into buying one!

First of all, selling turtles less than four inches in diameter is illegal. The ban was enacted in 1975 because apparently kids were putting the tiny turtles in their mouths. You may not know this but turtles carry salmonella. Yum.

I read this article recently titled "Pet Turtles Sickened Children in 34 States." They said that a couple teenagers thought swimming with their pet turtles was a good idea. Really?! Needless to say, they got real sick. So if just for that reason, don't buy turtles as pets.

Additionally, these tiny turtles don't stay tiny. People forget that they grow. And I mean big. Female red-ear sliders can grow up to 13 inches! That is friggin' huge. Lucky for me, I have a male turtle who can only grow up to 9 inches. Yeah, that isn't small either.

I had Wasabi since he was tiny...like maybe an inch and a half big. My friend gave him to me knowing my love for turtles. I readily accepted but did not realize the hassle. He came in this cute little aquarium. Soon he got too big for that. I had to move him to a 2.5-gallon tank and then a 10-gallon tank. Fast forward 9 years and several hundred dollars later. Wasabi is now living in a 25-gallon tank, and that is probably too small for him. But any bigger, and I wouldn't know where to put the tank.

I probably don't have to mention this. But turtles poop. A lot. And you have to clean that crap. Pun intended.

I don't recommend pet turtles because I love turtles. People who don't will undoubtly get sick of the hassle and the poop and get rid of their turtles. That's really why I am so adamant about this! Oh, and of course children are getting sick, people! Save the children!


Laura said...

Can I eat him?

Tina said...

I know, when my mother-in-law got two turtles, I was like "Why didn't you ask me first?" which wouldn't be my normal reaction (because hello, it's my mother-in-law), but I knew from Tara how much work they are.

Tara said...

No, you cannot eat Wasabi!! No nibbling on my turtle.

Vanessa said...

You should buy another turtle so that Wasabi has company. Then you could convert your computer room into an aquarium!

Tara said...

I was actually going to take Nu's turtle. And I had grand plans of breeding them. But I found out that turtles actually like solitary. They will probably end up fighting and stealing each others' food.