Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out. - James Bryant Conant
A few months ago I had the privilege of meeting and photographing Annie and her two red-eared sliders Disco (left) and Phineas. It was one of the most fun and adorable shoots of my life, especially considering I'd never before photographed reptiles, let alone spent much time around them. Check out the whole "Princess and the Turtles" shoot Here.
Needless to say I sorta fell in love with the adorable little guys. So, when Annie mentioned that she would be leaving the country for several months, I immediately suggested that I would be willing to look after them. I mean, I kinda have my hands full already with seven guinea pigs, but the last thing I wanted was for Annie to have to give up her turtles (animals known to live up to 50 years or more) when she will be perfectly able to care for them when she got back.
Besides fostering is fun. :D
After a few weeks, she called me to see if I would still do it. I said, of course, and then on a drizzly Sunday went to go scoop them up from her apartment. 1 all-glass tank, 8 heavy rocks and a couple of smaller ones, a filter, shell maintenance ointment, water purifier, two medium containers of pellets, a bucket, a heat lamp, and two 6 inch turtles in a large metal soup pot were transported to my house. Annie showed us how to set everything up, how to feed them (once every two days, and separate from their tank so as not to make a mess), and gave us some info on when to turn the lamp on (it mimics the sun woot!).
The only snafu of the adventure was that the filter she had picked up needed a minimum water level much higher than what was conducive for the turtles. It's more suitable for fish, really. After saying her quick farewells to her kids, she thanked me profusely and then I took her home.
When I got back to my house, I found my boyfriend pacing back and forth, deliberating over whether or not this was a good idea after all. I mean, he had a point, we hadn't asked the landlords first – which is a serious no no when bringing pets home (even if they're only going to be staying for a while). He also didn't like the idea that the turtles were in a tank sitting on the ground, which could be a leaking hazard if the tank cracked. Our landlords also live beneath us so we didn't to surprise them with accidental water damage. He also raised a few other concerns which I thought were legitimate. I assured him that if we got the landlords' approval, then we would work to rectify the situation.
Fortunately, the landlords were ok with everything and Disco and Phineas were in the clear. They'll be with us until December 31 (or so), so we figured it was best just to make sure. We also started making a turtle shopping list. What could we do to make their lives better? I mean, it's a huge transition moving to a new house, and they probably missed their human Mom a lot, so we decided that the best way to help them along was simply to spoil them rotten.
The goals: more space to swim, more space to bask (you can see them cuddling above, which is probably more out of necessity than affection), some way to monitor water temperature, some elevation (no tanks on the ground), and places to hide.
With plans made, and general anxiety abated, we all felt a little better.
Stay tuned until next week to see what we came up with!
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