HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
February 26, 2007, Herald Journal

A turtle for breakfast

By JENNIFER GALLUS

Here’s an interesting story my Dad relayed to me from his town of residence, Tampa, Fla.

My dad, by the way, loves to call me with “hot news items.” Most the time, they are funny stories or perhaps some sibling gossip, not actually “news.” We have a sick sense of humor so we laugh about strange occurrences together.

He subscribes to the Herald Journal, all the way from Tampa, just to see what’s up. This isn’t his home-town area.

Anyway, this story was broadcast on the news down in Tampa. A family who raises pet turtles had brought the hard-shelled critters in the house one evening because it was going to get “cold.”

They placed the turtles in their bathtub for the night.

The next morning, the dad walked by the bathroom and noticed that their Golden Retriever, Bella, was in the bathtub with the turtles.

Sure enough, one turtle named Pepper was missing. These turtles were only about the size of the palm of your hand.

The quick thinking family, whose daughter is an aspiring vet, induced vomiting on Bella.

They knew how to do this because in the past that same trouble-making dog got into some candy and they had to induce that procedure.

Well, within 10 seconds, the turtle came flying out from within the depths of the dog.

The family said, “She shot out of there like a cannon!”

They said that turtle’s legs were just a-flailing upon seeing daylight once again. As soon as it hit the ground it was off and running as fast as a turtle could possibly go.

The family estimates that the turtle may have been in Bella’s stomach for about 10 - 15 minutes.

Just think what else that turtle may have spied while enjoying its hot, and slightly acidic bath, which couldn’t have been too good for the sheen of its shell.

Perhaps remnants of tennis ball fuzz, maybe some stuffed animal eyeballs, candy, and definitely some spongy dog food that appeared to have never been chewed.

The family is sure that the dog did not learn its lesson. The turtle, on the other hand, may need counseling for the rest of its reptilian life.

Duck and goose update

I’ve definitely had the upcoming hatching season on the brain. I’ve decided to have only two breeding pens and to only have about four hatches (instead of 10) this spring, not including what the mama ducks will hatch out on their own.

I already have a large order to fill and would be happy to scale down the operation just for this year. Working full-time while monitoring incubation is sure to be stressful.

Incubation takes about 26 - 28 days. Three days prior to the expected hatch date I transfer the eggs from an incubator to a hatcher.

This year’s hatcher has a really large picture window which will allow me to take photos as the ducklings come out of their shells. It’s really quite a sight.

So, for the next month, I’ll be prepping my incubation room in the basement for a little piece of Spring that will arrive in April.

That is, if my breeding stock isn’t scooped up by some bald eagles in the meantime.

A couple weeks ago, I noticed an eagle fly by the window in the back of our house. As I ran to the front of the house to check on the large bird and its proximity to my ducks, I noticed that there were actually a pair of bald eagles in pursuit of one of my ducks!

I ran out the front door without a coat or shoes on (and it was cold) and stood helpless with my husband who yelled at them in an attempt to scare the federally protected predators away from my duck.

Those eagles were flying low and close so I do think our disruption helped end their pursuit.

It was a sick feeling to be so helpless to this attack. My duck was just quacking up a storm as she circled the house and she, along with about six other ducks, didn’t come in for a landing until those eagles were quite a ways off in the distance.

Kid-isms

Here’s some funny words the boys say: “Sink the bathtub,” “Apple torture” (for apple orchard), “Rokini” (for zucchini), and “Boat repeller” (for boat propeller).