Turtles Are Not Vegetarians

Very nearly four years ago, Paola and I returned from the local pet shop with two tiny baby RES turtles, who we called Bob and Homer. A third and fourth soon joined them. And why not – they were so tiny! At the time. Boy, do they grow. Angus and Bob, our biggest turts, have gone from the size of a 2 peso coins to a small dinner plate.

Paola was quite convinced they were vegetarian, and tried tempting them with bits of lettuce. They weren’t very interested. In fact, they’d rather starve. Tuna fish, lamb, ham and chicken on the other hand. That got their appetite going. Meat of any kind has always been a welcome supplement to their diet of Tortuguetas turtle pellets. It’s only a rare treat, though.

At the moment, Paola’s mum is visiting from the US, and as she has a certain fondness for our turts, she boiled up a chicken foot for them. Yes, she likes chicken feet in her soups. Whole chicken feet. Toes and all. As do many Mexicans. The turtles like chicken feet too, as you can see from this video. It’s not been speeded up. My placid turts, who barely move for most of the day, suddenly turn into raging carnivores, racing around and ready to kill for a bite of meat. Or skin.

The feast came to an end when Bob and Angus began biting off entire toes. I didn’t want them to be swallowing any bones and choking, so the foot came out. As did Angus, who refused to release the toe he’d gotten hold of. The music is from the album 2four9 by Drumbeater.

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