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How Did I Miss It?


Yesterday was World Turtle Day!

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Can't say I've found Campbell’s turtle soup in grocery stores

"They say you can get seven different kinds of meat from butchering a turtle. Depending on what part of the turtle you’re chewing on, the taste may be reminiscent of pork, or chicken, or veal, or fish, or whatever … you get the picture. Perhaps this variability can partly explain why turtle has been such a popular menu item throughout the history of the United States. At least, it used to be. Not so long ago you could find Campbell’s turtle soup sitting alongside minestrone and tomato in grocery stores throughout the country. So what happened? How and why did an American staple virtually vanish?"

http://www.slate.com/blogs/wild_things/2016/01/04/turtle_soup_disappeare...

 
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Pets! Not soup.

Turtles were one of the many pets I had as a kid. Got 'em tiny at the pet store, then put them in a nice aquarium and fed them a special diet that we learned from a turtle-keeper pro. It was frozen meat and maybe castor oil or something. I was young....

They are to be full size, about 6 inches long. Liked to swim and sun themselves. We'd let them out and let them explore the yard, too.

(Remember those silly little turtle containers at pet stores - a little plastic bowl, and a plastic palm tree?)

(Remember how when you are really little, you think all bugs and animals eat grass clippings, and need a stick?)

 
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A bit early...

for the Slow Living Summit.

 
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Humphrey and Winston

When I was a kid, my Dad, who like to adopt unusual animals, adopted two box turtles -- turtles who live exclusively on land. Their names were Humphrey (possibly for Hubert?) and Winston (almost certainly for Churchill). They ate raw hamburg and lettuce and other tidbits and were our first experience with that kind of animal. One of their most remarkable features was their abiity to entirely withdraw into their shell, head and all. I've had many opportunities in life to envy them that skill.

Just before we moved away from the rural town we had found them in, my father released them back into the wild where I assume they lived long and productive lives.

Turtles are great. Long live their habitats, for that is what they and all creatures depend on.

 
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Turtles on the move

Keep your eyes open for turtles crossing roads, especially near rivers, streams, ponds and swamps. It's egg-laying season!

If you want to get a turtle out of the road before it becomes a motor-vehicle victim, always move it in the same direction it was already going, or it will turn right around and re-cross. Be careful with snappers, not only do they have strong jaws, but they'll also use their sharp toenails, and when they're mad they can move a lot faster than you'd expect!

 
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Turning Turtles

If you turn a turtle around (180°) it will turn back around and keep going. So, you have to fool the turtle: Turn it completely around so it is facing its original direction (360°). It will then turn back around (180°) and be facing where you want it to face.

 
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World Tortise Day

Apologies for being the bearer of bad news, but I don't think your picture is of a turtle.

 
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Testudines

I had to look this up…found a cool site called todayifoundout.com. http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2013/01/turtle-facts/

The distinction between (turtles, tortoises, and terrapins) comes mainly from what living habitat they are adapted for, though the terminology differs slightly in certain countries. For instance, in Australia, other than marine sea turtles, they are all called tortoises. In the United States, the term ‘turtles’ is given to chelonians that live in or near water. That being said, in general there are a few commonly accepted distinctions between turtles, tortoises, and terrapins.

Turtles have adapted to an aquatic life and are streamlined for swimming with webbed feet, or in the case of sea turtles, long flippers.
Tortoises, on the other hand, are almost exclusively land-dwelling animals, usually with stubby feet, and aren’t good swimmers.
Terrapins are sort of like a mix between a turtle and tortoise, as they spend most of their time divided between water and land.

I can't tell from the photo which one it is.

 
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Land turtles are tortoises?

Sounds like Humphrey and Winston were tortoises then, and not turtles. And what of Yertle the Turtle? Should he have been called Yertle the Tortoise?

The complications of scientific taxonomy....

 
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Yerkle

Turns out not to be so easy to determine who is turtle and who i a tortoise. Having read the definitions, I would have thought that box turtles are actually tortoises. But Wikipedia says otherwise:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Box_turtle
"Although box turtles are superficially similar to tortoises in terrestrial habits and overall appearance, they are actually members of the American pond turtle family (Emydidae)."

As for Yertle, I am pretty sure that he is a snapping turtle.

 
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Terrapins

Box turtles are members of the genus Terrapene, i.e. terrapin.  Like the legendary station of Dead lore.

I remember being terribly disappointed to learn that tortoises are not turtles.  Terra - land.  Seems to me that some zoologist made a big mistake with that distinction, and one day will be held accountable for it.  I'm just sharing the pain here.

 

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