I love animals. This is Mertyle Turtle. Mertyle is an American Box Turtle that my nieces found on vacation 3 years ago. He was limping down a road that led to fishing and boating docks. His back foot was injured. Mertyle was destined to be fish bait. Fellow campers were watching to see if, when and where we might release this little guy.
But that face! No one could leave him behind. After several offers from fisherman to take him off our hands – that was it, he was under the our protection. I adopted him that day and took on the care and maintenance of what seemed like – a tiny dinosaur.
This was no small undertaking and not one I took lightly then, or now. Box turtles can live 30 or more years. But leaving him behind seemed cruel. I did quite a bit of research upon leaving the camp grounds with him. We treated his wound using Vetericyn. Here is a link for general box turtle care if you would like some info. (For a water turtle, read: HERP HACIENDA). You can see how much he has grown. He was about the size of a quarter and has grown to palm size. Each of the scutes were connected when we found him, and as he has grown, they have separated – his little dome has formed. Each little line between the scutes shows his growth and age. Mertyle’s hatch now opens and shuts – that was a fun milestone to witness.
He has little expressions.. You can definitely tell when he is excited! Maybe I am the only one that thinks so, but I am sure there are other “turtle parents” that would agree they can tell when their turtle baby is happy. I swear he smiles.
We have turtle time every evening, which I call “Time-Time”. During “Time-Time”, Mertyle gets a bath, food and a walk, sometimes a song and always whistling. Often I have thought of painting him- this is an attempt I made this weekend with watercolor and colored pencil. My husband says there is work yet to be done on the back foot… claims it isn’t proportional. That’s OK. I love that I finally got to it and made an attempt. Perhaps that back leg that started it all will get a touch up! Reptiles are not easy to paint! I did enjoy the color play and looking through all of my Mertyle photos to find one that would work.
Whatever project you are working on, I hope it brings you joy!
Whatever critter you have chosen as a pet – I hope it also brings you joy!