Pet of the Day

November 9, 2011

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Lourdes, the Pet of the Day
Name: Lourdes
Age: Twenty years old
Gender: Female
Kind: Three-toed box turtle
Home: San Francisco, California, USA
   Lourdes 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.

Lourdes, the Pet of the Day

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