||Twenty years old|
||Three-toed box turtle|
||San Francisco, California, USA|
started her life as a class project in an elementary school. She
was handed down to another family, then another family, then finally to
us. For the first part of her life, she didn't get to do a lot of outdoor
traveling (or leaving her cage). Now, we make sure she gets outside as
often as the weather will allow. Here are two pictures of her as a
gal-on-the-go. In 2009, she was voted Cutest Other Pet (non-cat, non-dog
category) by the readers of the San Francisco Bay Guardian. She's probably
around twenty years old (according to the vet).
Lourdes actually does respond to her name, which is very rare for turtles.
I spent a large amount of time voicing the "L" sound to her when we first
met. After several months, she finally started cocking her head when she
heard the "L" sound (I would voice her name as "Llllllllllllourdes").
When we discovered she responded to that specific sound, we tried other
sounds to see how she would react. Because I am a musician, I started
playing the piano near her. She now sits and listens when I play piano,
especially if someone has come over to sing when I play.
She picked up many bad habits in the years before we got her. She likes
very sweet foods (fruits and fruit-based turtle food). Our vet has been
working with us on getting her to eat her greens. I think Michelle Obama
would have a hard time with her (if Lourdes were human). We're not talking
junk food, but our little girl has a definite sweet-tooth for
strawberries, blackberries and bananas.
She's probably the best traveled turtle in San Francisco since she gets to
visit every public park within reach. Her favorite is the Civic Center
park, directly across from our city hall. The brightly colored flowers are
the highlight of her excursion and she spends a lot of time crawling
through the foliage.
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