a reply to: blend57
Years ago, our oldest daughter, who was then in grade school, brought a small snapping turtle home. A friend of hers gave it to her, after her father
found it when he was fishing. The novelty had apparently worn off! Of course it ended up being Mom who was most attached to it & got stuck having to
take care of it!
Pretty much same scenario. Fall of the year, starting to freeze at night. He had been fishing far from here. Wasn't sure what it needed, to know where
to release it! Decided to keep it over the winter.
Put a dish basin of water in one side of an aquarium. Filled the other half with pebbles. Made sure he could get in & out of the water easily. They
feed while in the water & it has to be deep enough that they can submerge. They have to have a dry spot to climb out onto too.
I used spring water when the spring wasn't frozen over & tap water in the winter. But I let the tap water sit a couple of days before putting it in,
so the chlorine dissipated. Fed him turtle food, meat & bugs. Tried lettuce & such, but he never wanted any of it.
I scrubbed the aquarium with baking soda & let the rocks soak while I did that. Then rinsed everything really well with hot water. He wasn't very
active in the winter, even though he was in the warm house. It was almost a kind of hibernation. He didn't eat much then either.
It must have had to do more with the length of the daylight, than the temperature.
We called ours Snappy too! I read somewhere how to tell males & females apart. It's not what you are probably thinking! It had something to do with
the shape of a certain spot on their shells & a special gripping toe/claw I think. I don't remember the particulars, it wasn't anything I needed to
know long term! But it was a male.
I would let him loose in the bathtub when I cleaned the aquarium. He apparently didn't like it in there, even though it was a lot of open space,
because he would always hiss when he was in there! Also when somebody tapped on the aquarium! The kids were amazed that it could hiss. Heck, so was I!
It led to a whole discussion about what kinds of sounds some of the dinosaurs might have been able to make!
We ended up keeping him for two years, until he got almost as big as a dinner plate! We must have been doing something right! But we ran out of big
enough aquariums! He developed a little curve to the edge of his shell on one side, because he always snuggled up against the aquarium on that side at
night! The kids wanted to fix up the bathtub for him so we could keep him longer! The cat used to enjoy watching him, but after he got that big, he
was mostly afraid of him!
I needed to start getting him ready to return to the outdoors. So in the Spring I decided to put him in the kids round wading pool, in the shade, for
a couple of hours a day. The first day that I took him outside he kept looking up at the sky & treetops! I put a piece of quarter inch wire mesh over
the pool. There was a four inch wide space on one side of the curve that wasn't covered. I figured there was no way he could get a hold of the
slippery sides or get through such a small space. Especially since I hadn't put any water or stones in yet. Wrong!
I ran into the house to get something. Was gone not even two minutes, but when I came out, he was gone! There was no way somebody could have taken him
out that fast, much less him finding the little space & managing to climb out!
I couldn't believe it! Our yard is a fair size, pretty open, grass was short, not a lot if places close by where he could hide.
The backyard sloped uphill & I could see all of it.
How fast could a turtle go? Especially an out of practice one! Checked up & down the road next, since turtles seem to feel a need to cross them!
Nothing. The whole one side of the yard is driveway...nothing! The opposite side is a small creek, no weeds or anything to hide in. The water is very
shallow in the summer, it's mostly pebbles, with a little water trickling through the pebbles. No deep pools. Looked up & down stream...nothing!
I spent an hour searching everywhere. I finally decided that a turtle that was that clever & that fast would be fine! The creek eventually empties
into a stream & there are a couple of nice, spring fed ponds in the neighborhood.
When school started that Fall, youngest daughter came home one day & said that a girl in her class, that lived over the hill & through the woods,
about a half mile from us, found a big snapping turtle in their pond that summer. It's shell had an unusual, little curved edge on one side! Snappy
had found a new home!