pbs Digest, Vol 50, Issue 29

bonaventure@optonline.net bonaventure@optonline.net
Mon, 19 Mar 2007 13:04:45 PDT
I echo Jim's observations for here in NJ. I have only found them on the road and in a backyard and felt i had to rescue these 2. Regardless, one has escaped from my backyard, I hope he made it over the "black rivers of death" to the nearby woods. The other has no apparent sense of direction and is happy to be in the garden from April to October (better contained this time), and then withdrawn into her shell from late October to April in a very chilly nearly unheated storage room, where she does not reextend her head and limbs to move from the corner, not even for a sip of water, until April again.
One warning for the garden, they will plow and bulldoze their way into soft soil, moving aside and partially uprooting plants until they are nearly covered. 

----- Original Message -----
From: pbs-request@lists.ibiblio.org
Date: Monday, March 19, 2007 11:02 am
Subject: pbs Digest, Vol 50, Issue 29
To: pbs@lists.ibiblio.org

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> Today's Topics:
> 1. OT: Tortoises and Returning Home from Holland (Judy Glattstein)
> 2. Re: Tortoises and Raccoons (Jim McKenney)
> -----------------------------------------------------------------
> -----
> Message: 1
> Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2007 18:20:39 -0400
> From: Judy Glattstein 
> Subject: [pbs] OT: Tortoises and Returning Home from Holland
> To: pbs@lists.ibiblio.org
> Message-ID: <45FDBB37.1030803@hughes.net>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
> Dear Susan and Dennis,
> Grote died a long time ago. She was an old tortoise when we got 
> her, the 
> ridges on her scutes worn almost flat. Kidney failure, nothing 
> much that 
> could be done even though I had her looked at by the vet for the 
> Bronx Zoo.
> I started writing up the story of our arrival at Kennedy Airport 
> with 
> dog, cats, tortoises, bulbs and other plants. I decided it is 
> really 
> off-topic to put on this forum. If you are curious, go here 
> March 2007 
> and it is on my 
> web site.
> Judy in New Jersey where a wintry landscape glistens in the sunlight.
> ------------------------------
> Message: 2
> Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2007 11:27:30 -0400
> From: "Jim McKenney" 
> Subject: Re: [pbs] Tortoises and Raccoons
> To: "'Pacific Bulb Society'" 
> Message-ID: <000d01c76a3b$1d01cb20$2f01a8c0@Library>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
> I hate to be a kill joy here, but someone needs to mention several
> inconvenient things about turtles and tortoises in captivity:
> 1) The Mediterranean tortoises (there are several species, 
> generally much
> confused) are not a good choice for someone looking for a garden 
> tortoise in
> most of North America or Europe. Sentimental efforts to imitate 
> GilbertWhite's account of Timothy (which was in fact a girl 
> tortoise, not a boy
> tortoise) have condemned who knows how many hundreds of 
> thousands of these
> creatures to a sad existence and early death in captivity in 
> unsuitableclimates. Some countries control the importation of 
> these animals, usually
> with the same efficiency they have in controlling the 
> importation of drugs.
> There are interesting parallels between the centuries-old trade 
> in tortoises
> and the centuries-old trade in collected bulbs (and drugs).
> 2) Box turtles themselves, although native to much of North 
> American in one
> form or another, are not all that easy to keep in captivity. If 
> kept as
> house pets, they don't do well in the long run. They do better 
> if penned
> outside. If allowed to roam, roam they will, eventually out onto 
> a road
> where they meet their doom. They are surprisingly agile, and 
> most people
> greatly underestimate their ability to climb fences and other 
> barriers.Should you be lucky enough to get one to thrive, it 
> faces other dangers:
> captive box turtles are typically too fat to withdraw into their 
> shells.These turtles, when attacked by raccoons or other 
> predators, are likely to
> have their legs gnawed off. 
> 3) If you feel yourself weakening and are about to acquire a box 
> turtle or a
> Mediterranean tortoise, please first take the time to contact 
> someone who
> has some expertise in keeping these creatures. Because they take 
> a long time
> to die, people are under the illusion that they are easily kept in
> captivity. They are not. They have peculiar dietary, dormancy 
> and biorhythm
> requirements which are at odds with our human life styles. Wild 
> collectedanimals typically have a significant parasite fauna 
> which is likely to cause
> complications sooner or later. 
> When I was a kid, box turtles were so common that on a weekend 
> hike it was
> not unusual to encounter one after another. Now, it's unusual to 
> find even
> one. Most of them have been crushed or smashed by cars or 
> collected for the
> pet trade. Here in Maryland, it's legal to keep one box turtle 
> (or so I've
> been told. I guess the authorities don't want them breeding in 
> captivity).The domestic trade in box turtles is now a thing of 
> the past in many states.
> But they are still collected for export to Europe where there is 
> a long
> tradition of keeping box turtles; and as with all of our 
> turtles, unknown
> numbers are annually exported to the soup bowls of Asia. 
> If you want to help our turtles, support those organizations 
> which set aside
> large tracts of land for wildlife conservation. And agitate for 
> stricterenforcement of laws meant to curb the illegal 
> international trade of
> wildlife. 
> Jim McKenney
> jimmckenney@jimmckenney.com
> Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where every 
> couple of years
> or so a box turtle will wander into the garden.
> My Virtual Maryland Garden http://www.jimmckenney.com/
> Webmaster Potomac Valley Chapter, NARGS 
> Editor PVC Bulletin http://www.pvcnargs.org/ 
> Webmaster Potomac Lily Society http://www.potomaclilysociety.org/
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