In 2004 we decided that the turtles' situation would have to change. They were growing toward a point when the four of them would not comfortably coexist in the 125gl tank we had upgraded to only a few years before. Also, in their close proximity we noticed an increasing amount of biting - it seemed that everyone's necks had nip marks from this worrisome behavior. Thus we decided to make a change - we contacted an old friend, Lenore, back in North Carolina who had an ideal pond nearby. Better than where the turtles would have grown up if we had not disturbed them, we imagine. As these four turtles had come from NC, and the weather was fairly ideal for shipping and reintroduction to an external climate, we took action. We packaged up three turtles, Line, Sinker, and REC, and same-day "Live Animal" shipped them on Delta Airlines from Portland to Raleigh-Durham. Lenore took receipt of the guys in great condition and the next day released them back into the NC 'wild'. (Our heartfelt thanks, Lenore)
A lesson we learned - turtles are cute that first year or two, but they grow and grow - they are an expensive and long-lived 'pet. Considering the paths all eleven turtles lives have taken, it is hard to say whether we made wise decisions along the way. Even with best intensions, this was a partial failure on our part. Even just four turtles outgrew our resources. We thought we knew all their requirements going in, that they would live a long long time and need ever larger tanks, etc. But even still, we ran out of capacity to maintain the level of care and environment these turtles deserve. We hope the best for Line, Sinker and REC.
Hook relaxing and reflecting on his newly peaceful environment
From Lenore's blog:
On Wednesday, I had to leave work early (for me, not for most people) to pick up REC, Line and Sinker from the airport. They are all yellow bellied sliders, i.e. turtles. About four years ago, when they lived in Durham, E&ES raised a bunch of baby turtles from eggs that were laid near ES's apartment building. They kept four of them, but now they've gotten too big for their 150 gallon aquarium. On my parents' property, there is a 1/3 acre pond, so E&E thought it would be best to release three of them. So, Wednesday morning, they shipped them from Portland, Oregon to Raleigh-Durham. Unfortunately, they were two hours late in taking off from Portland, so they missed their connecting flight in Cincinnati. My dad and I went back to the airport again around 9pm and successfully picked up. Once we got back to my garage, we put them in Rubbermaid bussing tubs with about two inches of water. Line, the largest turtle, tried to climb out and a couple of times ended up on his back. This was a serious problem, because their being on their backs compresses their lungs, making it harder to breathe. We put Line in a taller tub, but he was still climbing. I called up E&E and they said to add more water. That way, they couldn't get traction on the tub floor and couldn't raise themselves up. Problem solved. The next morning, before I went in tot work, we released them in the pond. They were very eager to get out, the closer their buckets got to the pond. Off they went into the light green abyss. Later that afternoon, at two different times, my mom saw two different turtles on a little island in the pond. It could have been them or some of the many other yellow bellied sliders that live in the pond. We'll never really know, but we can probably be sure that they'll be happy swimming around in a great big pond.