Mr T.

My Little World

The Box Turtle Sanctuary took in a turtle on the last day of 2020. It nearly broke my heart.

I was contacted by the turtles owners father. Not only had this man recently lost his 91 yr old father, but he also lost his 31 yr old son, the owner of the turtle. His widow, took her two young sons and moved out of state to be near her family, leaving the turtle, and the dog, for this gentleman to deal with.

Like many box turtles that find themselves in captivity, Mr T was living in less than adequate accommodations.

The habitat photo that was sent in during the intake process was like most that I see. The turtle sitting on a bed of dry bark mulch with a small dish of water in one corner and a dish of processed turtle pellets in another. The width of the 20 gallon aquarium that Mr. T called home was less than twice his length. No hides. No leaves. No plants. no humidity. No lights. No earth.

The Gentleman that brought the turtle knew only that this turtle was taken from the wild, they called him Mr .T and, his son had had him for about 2 or 3 years. He also knew that he wanted to provide this turtle a chance to live like a wild turtle.

I gave the turtle a brief exam as I read the story that his shell was telling me. I pointed out the growth rings as I explained how they indicate general health, diet and wellbeing during the growing years. The look of amazement when I told him that this turtle is a young male, maybe 12 to 15 years old was reminiscent of a child seeing a turtle for the first time. I showed him the temporary winter quarters that Mr T would be moving into. A space that includes a cool dark area along with an area of bright sunshine and heat, a water dish big enough to climb in, leaves, earth, plants and food, a variety of food. I told him about the need for a year of isolation and how he will be monitored closely as he approaches brumation next winter. And although his tail has suffered some damage from the over dry habitat, I expect Mr T. to be able to fully recover from his days of incarceration and be able to enjoy life as a turtle should.

I have never seen a turtle so enjoy humid air. I placed Mr T in his turtle size water bowl, It had likely been years since he had a good soak, and he eventually explored his new space where he came to sit in the middle and just breathe. I could feel his gratitude, as sadness overcame me. This turtle has been saved. Someone died. A family is grieving.

I Got No Time for Jibba Jabba

This morning when I walked back inside after my morning ritual of dogs, chickens and turtles, my husband asked me “How are things out there?”

Out There?

My first thought of course was current events. Pandemics, Presidents, and Racial Unrest.

As a child of the earth, I often feel overwhelmed when I hear about issues that I cannot change. We are indeed living in a era that will be recorded in history books and that our grandchildren will look back upon.

When I started The Box Turtle Sanctuary of Central Virginia, I knew that it needed to be done. I knew someone had to do it. I know that Action is better than No action, and because I have the facility, I have the ability to make a difference. The sanctuary serves more than just box turtles. I am forever grateful for this small piece of land that now provides habitat for snakes, birds, turtles, insects, all the little creepy crawlies and the mammals that come to visit the creek. It keeps me perpetually busy. Building turtle fence, planting native beneficial plants, pulling up invasive ones, building water elements and maintaining habitat. It is my giving back. I happily get lost in my little world every day.

We All have the ability to make a difference, give back, and get lost in our passion.

Find your passion. Whatever it is, YOU can make a difference: YOU can be constructive.

Don’t take no. Remember to Lean in.

Each and every one of us can be an advocate for someone or something, and I well expect that along with future generations reading about these challenging and historic times, they will also read about how our local native box turtles were protected by one advocate, and still exist because someone leaned in.

I replied to my husband “In my little world, everything is good”

I got no time for Jibba Jabba.

2 thoughts on “Mr T.

  1. Nancy Grube

    I have 14 acres of (almost) untouched land with a stream in Artemas PA and I would live to visit and see if I can help in any way. When I was young and stupid, I had pet box turtles that I took from this area and I want to try to undo what I did. Yes I truly am horrified by my stupidity but in 1970 there was little education about things like that. Please let me help.
    Nancy Grube

    Reply
    1. Shelley

      Hi Nancy,
      I am sorry for my delayed response to your comment on my website..
      I would love to talk to you about your property in PA,, no worries… we all did dumb stuff in the 70’s..
      I am looking for volunteers for some fence building and turtle love..

      let me know if you are interested.

      Reply

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