In the words of the Great Chrissie Hynde: don't get me wrong. I love my turtles. In fact, it's got to the point where I've found that the more people I meet the more I love them, but then you don't generally get turtles starting world wars or backing into each other's parking spaces (yes, turtles need to park).
However...they are a very special kind of pet. By this, I mean they require a certain amount of attention. But here's the thing (or rather things - yes, it's another list):
My mother is insane. "Of course," I hear you cry, "But what has that got to do with the turtles?" Mother has convinced herself that Soupy is incapable of eating pellets independently. i.e. she feels the need to hand-feed him. Apparently if she doesn't, he just spacks at her while George nips around eating all the food. I would understand her concern...if only I didn't believe that she has been hand-feeding him too much, and now he expects it, like the turtle equivalent of the Maha Rajah.
Turtles know full well when they are being naughty. I bought a little dried out urchin shell to decorate their tank with. Yesterday, I was approaching the tank and was startled to see Soupy 'bouncing' up and down on it. Unsurprisingly it split in two. He spotted me approaching, and instead of his normal routine of following me around, he looked directly at me and smacked one of the pieces of shells with both claws. Annoyed, I removed the lid to scoop the ruined adornment out with a net, and Soupy found it hilarious to jump into the net. Twice. He then commenced a few cheeky victory laps before smacking his brother in the face.
They like music. When they were in my room, Etnad would sit on my bed and play the guitar. You couldn't find a more precious tableau this side of the Nativity Scene: Him sat strumming gently with the turts squeezed into the corner closest to him, stock still and listening intently. I was half expecting Gabriel and all his angels to appear among the rankweed. Turn the hairdryer or vacuum cleaner on however, and watch them crap themselves and run away.
They can warm even the toughest of hearts. While away at Isle of Wight Fest, I received a text from my mother: "Dad is bonding with the turtles. He is cooing over them." So there you have it. Bear in mind the fact that I haven't known my father to coo, except when attempting to lure a pigeon into the path of his car.
Turtles smash. In pretty much the same way as their green counterpart (technically I meant Bowser, not Hulk) they have a penchant for distruction. This would be funny had their evil eye not turned to:
1) a £12:00 filter
2) several ornamental plants and shells
3) themselves, and
4) each other.
All literary, fictional and mythological turtles are cooooool. See the many 'o's? I mean think about it: in the contemporary corner you have Bowser, TMNT (both of whom have been cool since the '80s, thank you very much), Tortigar and the World Turtle from the Discworld series. Chinese culture heralds the turtle as one of it four central powerful animals (incidentally, it's the only one of the four that truly exists, the other three being a dragon, a phoenix and a unicorn). In Japan, the minogame as it is known is a symbol of longevity and felicity. We have the Mock Turtle from Alice in Wonderland, Cassiopeia and Morla from Neverending Story...I could go on. I don't really think I need to.
A pack of 10 Sidenecks can take down a flamingo. Don't ask me how - I only know it happens. Really, what more do you expect from a pink bird that stands on one leg most of the time?
So there you have it. Turtles are destructive, mischevious and difficult to care for, but they're cute and very easy to love.
Teeny ~ "Well, if Bowser can fall into a burning planet of lava and survive..."