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Old Oct 24 2007, 07:12 PM   #1
Brenda
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Default Today I took a turtle for a ride

So there was this turtle...

Well, let me back up a bit.

I am currently a student at Southeast Missouri State, and along with a Historic Preservation major I am getting a minor in recreation. And this semester I am doing a practicum for that minor, which means I have to do a certain amount of volunteer hours - two seven-week sessions of 42 hours each. And this session I am volunteering at nearby Trail of Tears State Park. This is really cool because I am hoping to work in the Missouri State Parks, and they've got it set up so I'm doing a little of everything.

Anyway, on Saturday someone brought in a turtle they had caught, to ask what kind it was. And nobody knew, so they put it in a plastic bin until they could bring someone in to identify it. Well, today when I got there, the woman who was working in the Visitor Center that day had decided to just take some photos so the turtle could be set free. I helped - I held the turtle upside down so she could photograph the underside - and then she asked me to drive the turtle out to the lake and let it go.

It was a most unusual passenger. I think I can say with authority that this is the first time a turtle has gotten a ride in my car. He was in a smaller plastic container and stayed in his shell for most of the ride, but after a while started scratching around trying to go somewhere. He could hardly move because his claws had no traction.

I drove past the swimming beach to the more secluded picnic area and walked down to the shore. Picking the turtle up, I set it down about six feet from the water. He just sat there for a moment, so I turned him so that he could see the water - and boy did he skedaddle! He made tracks to the water and was gone in a flash. They can really move when they want to!

Then I got to go back to the VC and wash turtle dung out of the bin. I liked the first part of the job better, but it comes with the territory.

And Saturday evening I will be riding along with the law enforcement ranger for four hours! I had to sign a release form in front of a notary to be able to do that. I'll be sure to post how that goes.
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Old Oct 24 2007, 08:35 PM   #2
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Default Re: Today I took a turtle for a ride

I'm proud of you for saving the turtle. So many people would have run over it or tormented it. I used to know somebody who would have eaten it!
I'm currious to know what kind it was. I am the custodian of 3 red eared sliders and a painted slider. All were rescued from different misfortunes at different times and are not likely to survive if released. I've also rescued quite a few out of roads over the years that I did return to the wild. In Spring and Fall they seem to go a little nuts in their wandering.
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Old Oct 25 2007, 12:37 AM   #3
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Default Re: Today I took a turtle for a ride

Good for you Brenda...what a big heart!!

Snappers and Painted are our main native wild guys up here in Canada. Red Eared Sliders have all too often been "set free" in our lakes and ponds up here, thus easing the natural wildlings out of their niche! It is a BIG problem up here. Worse part is when Red Eared Sliders come in via the general public...we've got nowhere to put them. We cannot release them as they are not native, so we depend on the kindness of staff to adopt them, or if they are really big we call a local turtle/tortoise guy, but he doesn't deal with these guys either as a general rule!! Quite the quandry. Do you guys in the States have any organizations set up to rehabilitate northern/Canadian Red Eared Sliders, or any kind of release program?? (Just thought I would ask quickly, as the turtle subject was opened!! )
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Old Oct 25 2007, 04:04 AM   #4
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Default Re: Today I took a turtle for a ride

The turtle making it high speed for the water must have been worth it. Only seen it on TV but it's always great! Well done, Brenda.
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Old Oct 25 2007, 11:43 AM   #5
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Default Re: Today I took a turtle for a ride

Deb, I don't know of any organized programs for sliders but there may be some. I know there was an issue about people catching and selling the baby ones for years but I think that in most states it is now illegal to sell them if they are less than 4" long. Of curse, internet sellers generally bypass laws like that and that's probably how so many of them got so far from home. I'm not sure what your turtle man calls big, but sliders don't usually get all that big, at least not compared to other turtles in these parts. I do wonder how they survive, though, because the ones I've observed are about the most pathetically stupid animals I've ever seen.
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Old Oct 25 2007, 03:16 PM   #6
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Default Re: Today I took a turtle for a ride

I live way out in the boonies and at certain times of the year, we have turtles on the move. I cannot tell you how many times my husband or I have stopped and helped turtles across the road. I really hate to see people run them over. We have had red eared turtles in the past. We had a soft turtle once, too.
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Old Oct 25 2007, 03:22 PM   #7
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Default Re: Today I took a turtle for a ride

A red-eared slider named Bailey
Would come out of his shell almost daily.
But only to feed,
Or make off at high speed
If anyone mentioned a ceilidh.
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Old Oct 25 2007, 03:32 PM   #8
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Default Re: Today I took a turtle for a ride

The slider I've had the longest is called Rocket, short for Rocket Scientist (appologies to certain persons). He turned up in our drive a cold March evening. I think he was probably caught up in the water lilies tangled in my neighbor's boat motor and trailer because he (the neighbor) left a trail of the weed all the way up the road. My daughter and I took him inside and rehydrated and thawed him out. He was then about the size of a quarter. He was missing a toe of one hind leg but otherwise ok except that he couldn't seem to figure out how to swim for about a week (hence the name). But when he finally did get himself under water he'd zoom around like a rocket so the name still fit. Now he's about 11 years old. somewhat bigger but still pretty dumb. The second one is called Bully after my daughter's college mascot. He is missing both his front feet but he's lived in an aquarium for about 9 years now and seems content enough. Don't know how old he is because he was as big as Rocket is now when my daughter found him on a road. The other two aren't really mine, I'm just keeping them temporarily.
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Old Oct 25 2007, 06:08 PM   #9
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Default Re: Today I took a turtle for a ride

Brenda, you should have filmed the turtle's dash for freedom, we'd have loved to see it

PS: Hope you have a great time on your Saturday excursion
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Old Oct 25 2007, 08:59 PM   #10
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GOOD JOB SAVING THE TURTLE.
Around here it is eilleagle to touch wild turtles -- even to move them out of the road. People have been passing deseases to turtles that way.
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Old Oct 26 2007, 12:35 PM   #11
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Default Re: Today I took a turtle for a ride

It's a shame you can't help them off the road!

I keep forgetting to bring my camera out there with me - the fall colors are pretty decent out there considering the droughts this year.
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Old Oct 26 2007, 01:49 PM   #12
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Default Re: Today I took a turtle for a ride

Well done for saving the turtle.

If you have a cell phone, does that have a camera?
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Old Oct 26 2007, 04:13 PM   #13
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Default Re: Today I took a turtle for a ride

HOORAY!!!!Great Save Brenda , After spending over twenty years vacationing at a beach in Dan Diego, and seeing what some very sick people can do to helpless animals...its wonderful to hear about one of our own MoMer's that has valiantly saved one. It's great to also read about what you are studying in school, and getting to participate in during your studies.
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