Turquoise, Turkey to her friends, is a 24 year old Red Eared Slider and since she fell in to my lap, we’ve developed a harmonious way of life.
It isn’t easy but the key to any relationship is learning how to listen. This water dragon has learned how to communicate with me on a very basic level that has been made possible through observation.
Many times, Turkey’s wants are very basic: “I like/do not like” or “I want to go down now”.
She will also show affection and ask for attention. It has taken trial and error to understand her wants.
By gauging Turkey’s reactions, her and I have developed seasonal routines allow her to live a better life.
Nice Weather Routines
In the Spring, I take her outside to let her explore our turtle-proof yard. She enthusiastically greets passerbys and watches cars go by with great interest.
She despises having her vision obstructed in any way and will stick her neck out through the fence to see down the street.
At this point, the Canadian weather is usually too cool for her to bask unaccompanied and she gets swaddled and snuggled if it gets too chilly. She will protest this but will calm down once I start singing her song.
Neighbours have asked if I am holding a baby only to be surprised when Turkey pops her head out of the towel. It is usually followed by, “Is that a turtle?!”
The Hot Weather Routines
In late Spring, the hard plastic basking pool is prepped and strategically placed for premium sunlight/shade ratio.
Through Turkey’s insistence, I created a basking platform that was tall enough for her to see over the edge of the pool. This platform consists of a water-safe hard plastic shelving unit, large flat stones, and sea shells.
She is noticeable happier when she can see everything.
Summers tend to carry the heavier chores of bailing out the basking pool regularly and cleaning it for her safety. She also has toys, a solar-powered floating fountain, and a filter to keep things interesting.
It’s also important to keep the regular tank in top condition for overnights when she comes inside at dusk.
Notice: It is not safe for Toronto’s pet turtles to stay outdoors in any season due to the increase of urban predators who have no qualms attacking a domesticated turtle.
The warmer seasons have allowed Turkey and I to bond in a more natural environment for her. The basking pool allows socialization with neighbours and she rarely gives up an opportunity for attention.
The colder seasons have inspired an odd routine but it ensures she is not lonely and has the freedom to decide what she wants to do within reason.
I’m excited to write about the Summer to Fall changes when we get there!
Ciao for now.