Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hadrian the turtle, 200?-2007

I used to have four turtles. Well, actually, I used to have just one. Then I had none, then one again, then two, then one again, then two, then four, and now three. Longish story. But the point is, up until a year ago today I had four. :-(

From April to June 2006 I had Herman and Raphael. Then in June I got into contact - pretty randomly - with a woman in Kragerø (a city a couple hours further south) who had two turtles she was desperate to get rid of. Well, not get rid of as such ... she wanted someone to take them who knew how to care for turtles. She herself had no clue. She'd bought their tank from some stranger online, at a suspiciously good price ... she was going to use it for some of her fish. At almost the last minute the seller informed her that there were a couple of turtles living in the tank. I know, WTF, right? But he told her all kinds of lies about how easy they were to care for, would take no time at all, calm & placid animals that needed hardly any attention, etc. Total BS of course. There was no pump in the tank, so the water got fouled up very quickly and she was doing a full water change daily (!!) to keep it from stinking up her living room. The tank was way too small so the turtles were totally stressed and hyper. She didn't know what to feed them and the seller gave her lousy instructions on that. And obviously, any fish put in with those two critters wouldn't last long. So she was eager to find a new and more knowledgeable owner for them ... and this ended up being me.

There was one small turtle and one relatively big one. The latter was Henrik, of course. The former was my fourth little guy. They had no names when I got them, that anyone was aware of ... but of course they had to have names. ;-) Since they were the same species as Herman, I wanted them to have names that would match his. Ie, starting with H, and ideally two syllables. Henrik's name I came up with quickly ... not least because I could tell that he was a male. The length and thickness of the tail gave it away. The little one, however, was a little harder to figure out ... because it had no tail. It had only a stump left. I will never know for sure of course but I've never doubted that this was Henrik's doing. He was older and bigger and he's species aggressive, and as I've discovered, he does tend to go for the tail. >:-)

Since I didn't know what sex the little one was, it stayed nameless for a while. Finally I decided on Hadrian, since it was a name I liked and since I would be able to just drop the n to turn it into a female name if that should be required. But not too long after that I was able to ascertain that Hadrian was in fact male too. :-) Because he was so much smaller I got him his own little tank to live in. He was very frightened of me at first, and wouldn't even come to me to be fed. The first few weeks were rather stressful since I clearly often scared the living daylights out of him - he was living in the big tank in the living room with Herman and Henrik, since Raphael was in his pond on the balcony, and could hardly avoid seeing me for hours every day. It was so sad - he clearly wanted to bask, but didn't dare to do so while I was present. I was so scary that he felt too vulnerable on land around me. :-( Being caught and taken out of the tank every other day for feeding was quite an ordeal. Although when the food arrived he seemed to mostly get over it. ;-)

Eventually though he did learn to trust me. Getting his own tank was an important step; I set it up in the guest room so that he didn't see me that often and could bask in peace. Hand feeding did the rest of the job. He came to trust me and be very responsive and tame. And he was so cute ... !! :-) He had a rather strange-looking face as his beak was a little deformed ... I don't know if this was congenital or if Henrik was responsible for that too. He could eat with no problems though. And the rest of his face and head wasn't damaged. He used to go crazy in his tank when he saw me come in the room ... he used to do lots of adorable things that I used to think I ought to get on video. But I never did, and then it was too late. :-(

I only had him for a little over 14 months ... in August last year he got sick, unexpectedly and quite suddenly, and died. :-( One year ago today. I don't know what was wrong with him. I should have made more of an effort to find out. :-( I was so sad when he died ... I'm not going to go over that again now but you can read about it here, a post on the Scandinavian BookCrossing forum that I wrote a year ago today. (It's in Norwegian, sorry to any & all non-Scandinavian readers.) I'd thought I would have him with me for many years to come. He should have had a long life ahead of him. But it didn't turn out that way. :-( I'm glad I got to know him and care for him for a year, though, at least.

Aw, he was soo cute. :-) Just look at him:

This was the first picture I ever took of him. Henrik had markings equally bright, but they faded quite soon after I got them, I don't know why. (Maybe something to do with their diet.)

His little stump of a tail.

Trying to hide himself away from me in a corner of the big tank. Obviously not quite realizing that glass is transparent. :-D

Basking on the Turtle Dock in his very own tank.

Having buried himself in the soil in a little indoor garden I made for him. He enjoyed digging. :-) Aww, look at his little face!!

Out walking in the great outdoors. Because he was so small I used to tie this organdy ribbon around him, to help me keep track of where he was in the grass. :-)

In my hands. Curious about what was going on. :-)

(Photo credit: 1, 3-6: me; 2, 7-8: trilltrall)

4 comments:

findabair said...

Ouf, I need to learn to read properly - I saw the headline to this post and thought, oh no, has she lost another turtle?! >_< Glad to find that I was mistaken.

Hadrian sure was very, very cute! Interesting to see the pictures here; I had forgotten how absolutely tiny he was.

Leisha Camden said...

No, fortunately they're all happy and healthy. All three :-) I just wanted to commemorate Hadrian a little by posting some pictures here today, since it's one year exactly since he died. I can still remember how sad I was that day. :-(

He was tiny, wasn't he ... imagine that when he was first hatched he was less than half that size. :-o

Gealach said...

Hejsan!

Kul att du hittade min blogg! Japp, det är samma Gealach! (The one and only, eller något...)

Leisha Camden said...

Hei forresten, gealach! Hyggelig å se deg her. :-)