Thursday, 27 June 2013

My wish for Jim the Snapping Turtle...

Somewhere in February of this year I was asked by the MNR if I was interested in housing a confiscated Snapping Turtle somebody had tried to keep as a pet. I was told he'd be about 10", so I set out to get him a big tank and get it ready for his arrival.

I put the tank in my living room because the turtle was coming licensed for educational purposes. This means that the animals can never be released and socialization is very important in those cases.

However when the turtle arrived he turned out to be much bigger that I had been told and the only way he would fit in the tank I had prepared would be on his side...As luck would have it I was brought two turtles instead of one. The second turtle was luckily much smaller and was a perfect fit for the tank.

With the large Snapping turtle awaiting a new habitat in a plastic tote I drove to the local feed store and bought the larges stock tank I could find as well as the necessary heater, UV light and pump.

With this habitat finally set up I had the pleasure of observing the absolute bliss he displayed when I lowered the turtle into the water and he fully submerged himself. I found out later that the animals found in the possession of this person where living in horrible conditions and that the Snapping Turtle had been found in a tank much to small and completely encrusted with dirt, so this big tub was a big improvement for him.
I decided to name this guy Jim after the wonderful Dr. Jim Sweetman from the Downtown Vet Hospital in Windsor ON. He is a fellow turtle lover and it seemed like a fitting name.

When taking Jim with me to do educational events I noticed he really likes looking around him. I bought him a clear tote for traveling to enable him to see more. He seems to enjoy driving and I make sure he always gets a window seat when he is in the car with me.  Sadly his big tub at home limits his looking to looking up only.

Jim turned out to be an excellent turtle ambassador. He is as social and easy going as a Snapping Turtle can be.

I was excited to be able to put Jim and his tub outside this spring so that he could see the sky, sun, moon and stars at his leisure, but also to feel real sun light or rain. Something he had never been able to do to the best of my knowledge, but my wish for Jim was a pond. A pond that would allow him to be in the water or out on the grass, be in deep water or shallow and most of all look around him and see the outside world.

Thanks to a multitude of donations and the proceeds of the walkathon fundraiser my wish for Jim became reality and we where able to put in not one, but two ponds.

With a lot of work and the help of Gerry Loebl from Your Vision Landscape & Design this space

Was transformed into this
 After we installed turtle proof fences around both ponds I got to realize my wish for Jim.

He dove in and swam to the shallow end of the pond and suck his head out and did just what I wanted him to be able to do so badly....look around and see the outside world...

The area around the ponds still need to be landscaped and that will be done later this week, but for now Jim can look around all he wants.


  1. Another wonderful blog!! I just love the picture of him with his head out of the water. :) I look forward to meeting him one day.

    1. Thank you Angie. It is so much fun to watch him watch the world...