Tuesday, May 27, 2008


I grew up in southern Ontario, where we had Midland Painted Turtles and Snapping Turtles and Blanding's Turtles and Musk Turtles and so on... Out here there are no native freshwater turtles. The native Pacific Pond Turtle was too tasty and was eaten out of existence long ago. But still we have turtles, as proven by my son, who said as I was aiming the 300 mm between the bulrush stalks, aiming at the Yellow-headed Blackbird,

"Uh, Dad, look who I found." He had discovered a Red-eared Slider, Trachemys scripta elegans, the dime-store turtle native to the south-central US that was shipped all over North America and beyond for the pet trade. Those that didn't perish in their plastic bowl with the de rigueur plastic palm after languishing on ant eggs, those that were actually nourished and cared for, were annoyingly long-lived and eventually ended up dumped in places like this. Be free, native of Louisiana! Be free in southern British Columbia!

It was a male, with long front claws. He was on a footpath through brush so dense I doubted he would ever find his way back to water and he was in direct mid-day sun. I carried him to a beaver trail that led out of the marsh and nudged him on his way, probably back to where he had escaped from. He probably hasn't had a great life, and I doubt we improved it.


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