Natural science is my personal favorite when it comes to teaching. The look of wonder on a child’s face when they get their hands on a creepy crawly, or the lightbulb that goes off when they find out that birds don’t pee, is one of the many joys of children. Over the summer our older son Will (16) found a soft shell turtle on the shore of lake Travis, here in Austin TX. I think I may have been the first one to blurt out “can we keep ’em” realizing I was the authority on this, we took him home. Robb has become accustom to my critter collecting ways and is sure to watch where he steps while making coffee in the early morning, ‘lass one of my latest captures has escaped.
We decided to call this little guy, “Tucker the Turtle”. I thought it would be a neat experience for the kids to build him(I’m just guessing I have no idea how to sex a freshly hatched turtle) a little terrarium and watch him grow. We got onto the internet and looked up images of soft-shell turtles, what they typically eat and what type of habitat they thrive in. Blake and Bianca came to the conclusion that Tucker must be a Florida Soft-shell. Next we built him a little enclosure with ultra soft sand so that he wouldn’t harm his shell with the more standard “scratchy rocks” that you would purchase at the local pet store and began feeding him worms.We had so much fun measuring him and counting his tiny little spots. The plan is to continue measuring him as he grows and then release him back onto lake Travis, before we set out on Miss Lone Star this summer. Being that he is smaller than a silver dollar, I hope that he last through all of the love he is getting from his new 3 year-old friend Blake and the very sniffy German Shepherd Onyx.