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Noises From My Turtle’s Tank | Big T Is A Very Industrious Turtle
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Noises From My Turtle’s Tank | Big T is A Very Industrious Turtle

It’s quiet in the house. The cats are curled up on beds or windowsills, napping. I am writing, as usual, on my computer. There are no dogs barking outside, no lawnmowers running. There are no extraneous noises to disturb my mental meanderings.

All of a sudden, the tranquility of the moment and my train of thought are interrupted by the sound of stones against glass. Seems Big T, my red-eared-slide turtle, is at it again. Now I can look forward to a half hour or more of stones being knocked about as Big T digs into the pile of stones surrounding the prop the filter rests on. And there are a lot of them. I hear his shell bumping the glass as he works to dislodge the suction cups holding the filter in place. I here him roll the prop to the center of the tank once the stones are out of the way. I hear him pushing the stones across the glass bottom of the tank. The dislodged filter creates a louder waterfall emanating from the tilted device.

Once the tank is redecorated, Big T claws his way up onto his sunning dock. I hear the sound of his claws as he climbs up and the knocking of the floating dock against the side of the tank.

He makes other sounds I wasn’t aware turtles make before I brought Big T home too. He lets me know when he’s hungry by smacking the top of the water with his big front feet. He deliberately splashes the water to make enough noise to gain my attention. And I cave every time. I can’t train him, but Big T certainly trained me!

He made a hissing noise recently. A noise I never heard before escaped his mouth. I apparently startled him and he instinctively pulled in his head and limbs, hissing as he did. It’s an odd sound and one I didn’t expect from my otherwise non-verbal friend.

I found out that when a turtle totally tucks into its shell, which typically is done swiftly, it needs to make room on the inside to accommodate its legs and head. In order to make the necessary room, it will quickly release any air in its lungs. Thus the hissing sound. This isn’t a defensive or aggressive sound like it is when my cats feel the need to hiss. He’s just making room.

As pleasant and entertaining as it is to have Big T as a pet, I dislike the sound of those stones. It means that I will have to fix what Big T messed up when he’s done. He gets a time-out in the tub while I put everything back in place. He’s probably as exasperated with me changing it back as I am when he redecorates it. He probably thinks I’m the one messing things up. It is his home, after all.

I got the idea to get two large rocks that he may not be able to move to place around the prop. He’s stronger than he looks so they would have to be quite large. And I wonder how much weight the glass-bottomed tank can take. Plus, we’re talking about things underwater where buoyancy helps Big T in his endeavors. Big T the turtle is a pretty determined little critter.

Maybe I’ll just trade him in for some nice quiet fish.

Just kidding. That will never happen! :)


Street Talk

I used to keep a couple of these turtles in my tropical fish tank. This was fine for a while until one of them ate an injured fish. Then they got a taste for fish and I had to move them to a separate tank. Woe!

Reply
  about 6 years ago
  

The first time I gave him a few feeder fish he only ate the one that had died on the way home. The other two got to live for a couple of weeks before I saw him attempt to catch them. It was soon after that that they disappeared so I guess he learned how to catch them - they are a tad faster than him.

Reply
  about 6 years ago

If you leave the rocks where he puts them, does he again rearrange them the next day. Is he into change for the sake of change? :-)

Reply
  about 6 years ago
  

No Sherry, Although when he was younger, he would arrange them in two straight lines side by side down the middle of the tank after every tank cleaning - when I put them back after the cleaning I would just leave them in a pile. After these arrangements, he would leave them alone. Now tho, he's not arranging the stones, just knocking them out of the way so he can get to the prop. He just wants things his way! :)

Reply
  about 6 years ago

What a delightful sharing of a wonderful experience. It reminded me of a turtle my mother kept as a child. I was too little to remember the noises but it makes me wonder if he had a lovely personality too.... thanks for sharing!

Reply
  about 6 years ago
  

Big T is a friendly and funny pet. But he's more work than the cats!

Reply
  about 6 years ago
Lemuel  

Great article, and I like the Squidoo Lens, too.

Reply
  about 6 years ago
  

Thanks, lemuel. And thanks for checking out the Squidoo lens as well. You're a Peach!

Reply
  about 6 years ago

I felt as though i was sitting there next to you hearing all the same sounds as you. Great descriptive article.

Reply
  about 6 years ago
  

What a nice compliment, Rob. Thanks. And thanks for reading it! Stay warm.

Reply
  about 6 years ago
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