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December 2nd, 2008 - Jackie the Turtle Update

It has come to my attention that "Captain" Jackie, the young Painted Turtle we adopted this summer, hasn't gotten any press lately.
For this, I apologize. To bring you up to date in a nutshell, she was living the High Life in the backyard Turtlearium and started to slow down and show signs of burrowing in September. After consulting our turtle books and naturalist acquaintances, we decided the best thing for her was to move her back inside. 
Since she hasn't grown appreciably, she ended up back in the Tupperware Pool & Spa, where she started out as a turtling. First she was near the window, but with all the cold drafts (wind, not beer) we moved her into the living room onto a nice warm bookshelf and set her up with her own basking lamp on a timer.

She hasn't been burning many calories except to climb up and bask once in a while, which is a good thing because she hasn't been taking appreciable food either. She seems healthy tho, albeit a little stiff when she comes out for a water change, but so am I.
We set her rocks up for more of a grotto atmosphere, with more shade and also added the super cool river agate I found at the Fort Snelling push-off of the FMR canoe event this year along with a couple smaller rocks.
An interesting side-effect of Jackie's existence is that with all the scrubbing and soaking of the piece of limestone that is her main platform in Le Spa Tupperware, some of the previously barely visible fossils in the rock are starting to define themselves:

Shells and impressions of shells from a glacial lake or river in a Minnesota long ago. 
Pretty cool. This is a chunk of limestone Sharon found on a walk to the Mississippi River near the mouth of Minnehaha Creek a few years ago. She has a knack for that. Above it is the agate.
Lots of history there.
Well, I hope Jackie can make it through the winter. I hope WE can, for that matter. With her, it's a crapshoot, she's very small. I'm not sure which would be harder on her, being nearly frozen in the mud at the bottom of some lake, if she could have made it to one, or having her bio-clock messed up and living under artificial light. They say the hardest thing for turtles is when their bodies are expecting to go into stasis, to have them be put in a 40 or 50 degree climate. They then begin to use up too many calories trying to keep warm and not feeling the need to replenish them, whereas if they were in stasis they would be using very little, or if they are kept warm enough they use little as well. Hopefully she has the mettle. 

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