It’s a Turtle, Myrtle

We have a turtle in the bath.

A great opening line but it’s true – we do have a turtle in the bath and it happened like this:

Last night, approaching the house as I walked home from the station, I saw Pamela, Robert and the German family from across the road all crouched down around something on the ground. Naturally I walked up to see if I could play too. It was the aforementioned turtle. It was sitting quietly in the middle of the alleyway.

The alleyway is much frequented by cars going to and from their garages so this was not a good long term survival strategy for the turtle. Being kind-hearted people we decided to save it from its fate. By an odd co-incidence we happened to have a fish-tank, sans fish due to my incompetence at managing fish tanks, so we offered to take turtle in. We added some water and a few bricks to make a little platform for him when he didn’t feel like swimming.

Note that I say ‘he’ but in point of fact I am hopeless at sexing turtles so it might be a ‘she’ for all I know. I realise this sort of sexism perpetuates the outmoded paradigms of the dominant male patriarchy but tough. For the purposes of this post, it is a ‘he’. But I digress.

The fishtank is on top of a sort of cabinet/shelves piece of furniture in Robert’s room. In the middle of the night we hear a crashing noise. Worried, we look, but Robert is sleeping peacefully. We go back to bed. Shortly thereafter there is another, much louder, crash. We run into Robert’s room, convinced he has fallen out of bed but he is still asleep (he is a pretty solid sleeper apart from the way he wakes up every few hours). There is a rustling noise in the pile of toys and boxes on the other side of the room.

Last week we had a rat in the house. Pamela is a bit Room 101 about rats so we called in the men from Rentokill, by which time said rat had decamped. The men found a rat skeleton under the house and put down some traps and we assumed the matter was closed. So, when we hear the rustling we think, o shit the rat is back. I turn on the light and Pamela (clever woman that she is) notices the fish tank is empty.

Amazingly, the turtle had managed to climb out of the fish tank and drop onto the cabinet/shelves (crash number one). Shortly thereafter it dived about a metre into the boxes (crash number two). Even more amazingly it seemed to be unhurt. Since the fishtank was clearly a habitation failure we ran a little water into the bath, put down a towel for it to climb on if it felt like it and went back to bed again.

It worked but we have a cast-iron bath. Every so often we would be awakened by a loud ‘bong’ as the turtle shell hit the metal. There would then be the sound of scrabbling claws followed by a splash as the turtle attempted to climb out the shallow end. Finally, it too went to sleep.

I am feeling very tired this morning. We have put posters on the telegraph poles. We have rung the local vet (who is happy to take it and return it to the wild). I am sure we will find a home for it. But for the time being…

We have a turtle in the bath.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 6th, 2007 at 10:11 am and is filed under Family, General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


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