Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Turtle Whisperer

Sunday afternoon we had a fish fry at my parents' house. We had a great time telling jokes, eating and laughing together. My parents just got back from being in Florida for the last six months, so it was great to get the whole family together again.

My daughter named him Lynus.
After the meal, we were hanging around outside and my mother walked up with a box turtle she had just found near the pond. I immediately decided to bring it home to give to our 4 year old neighbor. I don't know if she likes turtles, but did know that it might upset her mother. She gets upset with me over little things like teaching her daughter to pet bees or eat dirt. I don't know why I enjoy it so much, but I do.

When we got home, the neighbors weren't home, so I left the turtle outside and went in to do some homework. I went out every now and then to check on him and he was always within a few feet of where I had left him.

After a few hours, I forgot about Lynus and quit checking on him. In fact, I never thought about him again until I was taking Kirsten to school the next morning. A few hundred feet from our house, we passed him on the road.

I could have gotten a better picture,
but decided that a close up was unnecessary.

I don't know how long it took him to get that far or know where he was trying to go, but I don't feel too bad because I had warned him about the road the day before. I should have known better since every turtle I have ever known has been resistant to any sort of instruction. I think it's the way they are raised. Hundreds of years of them retelling the story of  The Tortoise and the Hare to their children gives them a false sense of accomplishment.

Don't call Turtle Protective Services on me, because I did my part. Plus, even if they do come, it takes them forever to get here.

The demise of Lynus reminded me that it was time to feed our surviving pet, Dr. Finklerstein. He only eats once every two to three weeks, so it slips my mind sometimes. I ran to the pet store to buy his food. I gave him the food and something happened. It looked at me.

Isn't he cute? We named him Norman.
TIP:
Don't name your food.

This had never happened before.

Dr. Finklerstein (my daughter named him) is a ball python and he eats mice. In the past, knowing that I am purchasing something that is just going to be eaten, I have never given it much thought. I get home, I toss the food in the cage and I walk away. However, Norman had a personality.

Say something. ANYTHING!
So, I took him out of the cage and decided to see if he might be one of those super smart mice that could turn me into a master chef or help me become a better teacher or teach me a life lesson or something Maybe he was waiting for someone to take him seriously as an individual instead of just seeing him as a lowly mouse.

I tried talking to him, but he didn't answer. He didn't even squeak. He just stared at me.  Then I realized that I was being presumptuous in assuming that he would speak English. So, I spoke to him in Spanish. Still no response.

My daughter, insinuating how stupid I can be, snidely asked if I had ever seen Ratatouille

 "Mice," she said, "speak French, not Spanish. DUH!"

Insinuating how stupid she can be, I responded, "Those were rats, not mice. DUH!"

Since my daughter has had a year of high school French, she tried to communicate with Norman. We still don't know if Norman speaks French or not since all Kirsten knows is how to count to twelve or ask for the nearest bathroom. Where do our education tax dollars go?

Not wanting to give up, I tried one more tactic to give him the opportunity to communicate with us.

He just kept hitting the asterisk over and over.
He is either an imbecile or is cursing at me.

Dr F had been
waiting patiently.
Frustrated, I sought out one more opinion. Dr. Finklerstein had been watching this play out and hissing at our feeble efforts. He was beginning to grow impatient.

I asked him what he thought and got no response.

"Do you think Norman is special?"

The Doctor (snake) stuck his tongue out at me.

"Should we give him another test?"

The Doctor stuck his tongue out at me.

He even turned his back on me.
I was beginning to get the impression that Dr. Finklerstein was in a bad mood, so I put him back in his cage.

I told him we could not move forward until they worked this out between the two of them. I put Norman in the cage and left so they could have their privacy to discuss this without any biased influence from me.

I checked back in on them an hour later only to discover that Norman was no longer there. I guess they never came to an agreement and he just stormed off.

56 comments:

  1. Ahhh I'm trying to get to bed but then saw that you had posted something new... now I wish I had gone to bed.

    Poor Lynus and Norman!!! lol I hate it that I'm laughing! I sort of wish you had taken a closer picture of Lynus though - because how does one squish a turtle? What happened to his shell?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The shells aren't indestructible regardless of what those young turtles think. He was run over by a car.

      Delete
    2. Bozo- Forget the turtle and mice.....WHAT ABOUT "COMING YOUR WAY"

      Find a school, church, anything for the best party of 2012....

      I was so excited and relieved that your village was okay and you got back online.

      Now I'm just excited!!!!!

      Delete
    3. Thanks, Brett. Along with the young turtles, I pretty much thought the shells were indestructible too.

      Train- your excitement is contagious lol!!! However, right now I'm focusing on a trip back to the States. It's been a while since I saw my family - and I'm really hoping to make it back this Summer. Fingers crossed!

      After that we can look into spectacular Train parties ;-)

      Delete
  2. I LURVE this! Hilarious. Totally COOL!

    We have terrapins, and during the summer months there are signs on Coastal Highway advising people to be cautious because "Turtles on Road. Next 9 miles." Why does the turtle cross the road? To lay eggs on the beach. We have a bay on the opposite side of the road, but apparently that's not good enough. So I've seen more than my share of splattered turtles.

    But the best is your trying to reason with Norman...and with Kirsten.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. Certain times of year there are plenty on the roads here as well.

      We have a highway about an hour from here that get shut down for two weeks every year during the snake mating season. There are thousands of snakes crossing that stretch of highway for miles.

      Delete
  3. Nature is soooo beautiful, isn't it?
    LMAO!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My favorite post of yours so far.

      Delete
    2. Thank you. I now know they didn't die in vain.

      Delete
  4. Yea, the best bet is to probably not talk to your other pet's food at all. I wouldn't have had the heart to throw him in there.

    I had a pet turtle named Turbo Powers. I miss him very much :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My daughter likes to play with the mice for a while before they are offered as food. When we had the tarantula, she would name all the crickets before we put them in. She is and always has been a strange child.

      Delete
    2. I don't think that makes her strange. She just likes animals.

      Delete
  5. Maybe rats and mice can speak both Spanish and French? Or maybe they just speak Latin, which would explain why nobody can communicate with them?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Whatever he spoke, he wouldn't give it up.

      Delete
    2. Your instinct was correct. I think everyone of our generation knows that mice speak Spanish. Hello? Speedy Gonzales, anyone? They're bilingual.

      Delete
  6. I wish there had been a warning about legless reptiles in this discussion. I hate them! Have an irrational fear of them, and literally do not have my feet on the ground right now!

    I am unsure how long it will take for me to get the nerve to put my feet on the floor and go to my car. If I am late for my Wednesday date with my daughter I will be very angry with you.

    Not really I do have a fear but I will fight through it for my date.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just checked and mine is still in his cage. You should be safe.

      Delete
  7. So what you are saying preach is the turtle is the old USSR, the mice is the Industrial Revolution, and the snake is China that is going to take over the world.

    Thanks for making this so clear preach!!!!

    I understand now!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Finally, someone who gets my post-industrial analogies!

      Good eye, Adam.

      Delete
  8. Oh poor Norman, tossed aside like a mouse in a Python's cage.

    Very grateful to you for not giving us a close-up of Lynus's tragic demise, though I still laughed like a crazy person at this post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are welcome. It wasn't pretty. Thanks for the laughs.

      Delete
  9. I love this post! You describe things so perfectly! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. The animals and I enjoyed the collaboration.

      Delete
  10. If you want to give Portuguese a try let me know. It's kind of a mixture of French snd Spanish.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We will have to try it with the next one. Norman is gone.

      Delete
  11. Norman was pretty cute. I'd have massive guilt feeding him to a snake. Especially seeing as I don't like snakes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, but the snake is cute too. Of course, most people don't agree with that statement.

      Delete
  12. I feel bad for poor Lynus. That is bad parenting right there, is what that is, Brett. And now we'll never know how upset your neighbor might have gotten.

    I had a pet snake in college. Then I had a pet rat. I kept them in cages within view of each other. I was kinda sadistic like that. Although the snake was an itty bitty thing and the rat was much bigger. It would have been an interesting battle. I never named the mice I bought for dinner, though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was bad. I should have fenced him in or something.

      I will have to find another turtle and be more diligent about getting it to its new owner.

      My brother had a snake several years ago that was bitten badly by the mouse it was trying to feed on. It got an infection and died a few days later despite having won the battle and eaten the mouse.

      Delete
    2. Oh wow. That totally reminds me of the scorpion and the frog story. Yikes! Guess you have to make sure the food isn't too fiesty, huh?

      And I like your snake. I mean that in a totally literal way. Not a wink wink nudge nudge kinda thing. Just in case Red is reading. Don't wanna get slapped tomorrow. :)

      Delete
    3. Thank you. he doesn't like most people, including me.

      The Monty Python reference gives you extra points with Red.

      Delete
    4. LOL. I enjoy reptiles too, and once caught a snake on my uncle's farm. Brett knows this, and also knows me well enough to be right about the Monty Python reference.

      Delete
    5. Its a bloody rabbbbbbbbbbbbbbbiiiiiiiiiiiiitttttttttt.

      Sorry no rabbits here...

      Delete
  13. Nice post.

    In Australia you are not allowed to give mice to snakes conscience.

    That way it is less likely they will get names

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. Kirsten usually has them named before we get home with it. She already has it out of the bag and letting it crawl around on her. And then gets home and tosses it in the cage,

      Delete
  14. Poor Turtle!!! Turtle murderer!!! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have launched a full scale investigation to discover who ran it down and didn't report it.

      Delete
  15. How did you get him to sit still on the keyboard and not scamper off? Mice freak me out!

    Too funny, as usual!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The mice you buy at the pet store have been raised by people and don't realize that they could run away. Kirsten always plays with the mouse before it makes it to the snake. They never run. They occasionally bite, but don't run.

      Delete
  16. I still have yet to perfect the petting of bees. Glad to see you teaching the rare skill to new generations. That mouse was so cute, at least for a little while.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If bees are collecting pollen and are nowhere near their hive, they are not generally aggressive. Growing up, we had a large bush in front of our house that would blossom and then be covered by hundreds of bees. I could walk right into the middle of them flying all around me and gently pet one that was on a flower and it did nothing.

      It would freak people out, but we never got stung.

      Delete
  17. If it can't even withstand the weight of a compact car, what the hell's the point of having a shell to begin with? Sounds like bad design if you ask me. And I fully approve of teaching children the fine art of eating dirt. Lots of good nutrients and roughage in there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I tried to tell the neighbor that. She didn't agree.

      Delete
  18. Ack! Poor run over turtle. Thank you for not posting a close up photo. And poor Norman.
    And I feel guilty for laughing!

    -- Susan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are welcome. I didn't want to see it either.

      Delete
  19. Really good post.
    I can't help but wonder if there might be a market for a turtle leash?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is a very good idea. If we can put leashes on children, why not turtles?

      Delete
  20. Turtles and mice are not meant to be pets. They either run away, or commit suicide when kept in cages. I also had a turtle who ran away. I am unsure if its fate was similar to Lynus's, but I never saw my little guy again. And the mice I owned, froze to death. I can't explain how that happened, but it sure was sad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Froze to death? My daughter had hamster that just chewed their own feet off one night. Strange.

      Delete
  21. Completely nuts and really worth reading. I shouldn't want to but I think I'm going to have to follow you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. I promise, I am not usually writing about dead animals.

      Delete
  22. Oh no, you did NOT post about dead turtle's, mice in purgatory, and hungry snakes.

    Wow. You did. With photos, no less.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, and please tell me the poor snake finally got some dinner!

      Delete
    2. I try to cover all the bases.

      Yes, the snake did get to eat.

      Delete

Leave a comment. C'MON!!! You're already here. Leave a comment. Don't leave me hanging and wondering if any has ever seen these words. I'll rub your feet.