Sunday, 17 November 2013

Tessa the Turtle

Those of you who know me personally probably know about my weak spot for turtles. The recent arrival of Tessa has prompted me to write this particular blog.

Tessa the Red Eared Slider

Tessa is a Red Eared Slider. RES are NOT native wildlife. They are the type of turtles often seen in pet stores and they used to be sold by the dozen to people who thought they'd make great pets for their young children.

Tessa was 'rescued' 17 years ago from a parent who's child was bored with their 'pet'. The parent was planning to dump Tessa in a local creek.

Unfortunately a lot of the RES sold in pet stores end up in a creek somewhere. They are hardy, so they do often survive. The also reproduce and compete with our native turtles for habitat. That is never a good thing. Our native turtles are already having a rough time and having to compete with a feral species is not helping matters.

Getting a turtle is a huge commitment. They live a longtime. They are not easy to keep and maintaining their tanks is a lot of work. They also grow and soon will need an expensive bigger tank. They are not cuddly and most children will get bored with them very quickly.

One of our turtle tanks (72 gallon)
A lot of pet stores do not sell turtles anymore for the above mentioned reasons. It is my personal opinion that we'd do best if we stick to domesticated animals as pets. As it stands exotics are banned in most municipalities across Ontario. That ban includes Potbelly Pigs, Reptiles, Chinchillas, Sugar Gliders, Primates etc.

Tank for our Snapping Turtle Jim (240 gallon)
 Tessa was lucky. Like I mentioned 17 years ago someone cared enough to take her in and she was well cared for. Unfortunately that same person needed to re-home her due to an impending move. Tessa now has a home with us. She will be part of our educational program and with her age and size she is a perfect example why turtles do not make good pets.

Next time you see us out and about come and say HI to us, Tessa and our other turtles.

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