Animals just seem to come to Mike. It isn’t like he’s out there searching for pets. At least I don’t think so. Last week he came home from work with a large plastic tub containing seven turtles.
They are red-eared sliders, the most common turtles found in the pet trade which is why they are established beyond their native Southern United States. They are semi-aquatic yet bask under the warm sun and are shy so make a quick retreat by “sliding” into the water quickly off rocks and logs.
5-6 inch (12.7-15.24 cm) red-eared sliders exploring the pond
The female grows to be 10-13 inches (25-33 cm) in length and males 8-10 inches (20-25 cm). Although the male is usually smaller the tail is much longer and thicker and their claws elongated. A male at 4 inches (10.6 cm) will be somewhere between 2-4 years old and already sexually mature. Wild females reach maturity later, between 5-7 years, and will then be over 5 inches (12.7 cm) in length. If it is not yet as large as a dinner plate, it is not full grown.
After testing the waters they also tested the boundary
Mike already put chicken wire around the pond and they have a new home. As with other turtles, tortoises and box turtles, individuals that survive their first year or two can be expected to live almost as long as their owners. Individuals of this species have lived at least 35 years in captivity.
Red-eared sliders are omnivores and eat a variety of animal and plant materials. Recommendations include fresh fish not frozen, worms, carrion, crickets, aquatic insects, shredded carrots, lettuce and melon rind but never commercial cat or dog food. I’m sure there’s more Mike will be doing for his new charges.
Current pets include 7 red-eared sliders in pond, 2 mosquito fish indoor tank, and 2 turtle doves who still lay unfertile eggs (probably both females).
A 1975 U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation bans the sale (for general commercial and public use) of turtle eggs and turtles with a carapace, or shell, length of less than 4 inches (10.6 cm). This regulation comes under the Public Health Service Act and is enforced by the FDA in cooperation with State and local health jurisdictions. The ban was put into effect because of the public health impact of turtle-associated Salmonella. As with many other animals and inanimate objects, the risk of Salmonella exposure can be reduced by following basic rules of cleanliness.
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