Written by my brother: http://amirlatiff.com/
Meet Bob Marley, our pet turtle
The reason why his name is Bob Marley is because when I first had him. He was very shy and he just looked stoned half the time. Also, Bob was his first name before my cousin gave him to me. He is a Red Eared Slider turtle/terrapin. This species got that name because of the red mark across both sides of their heads. It is also the most common turtle in the pet trade. It is the only turtle that is legal to be kept as pets in Singapore.
Turtles are truly amazing creatures. They cannot live without land and water. They need both those environments in order to live at all. Firstly, they sleep underwater because that is where they feel safe. They are able to hold their breaths for over 4 hours while they are inactive. So, sleeping underwater isn’t a problem. Turtles’ mouths are very different from ours as well, it does not have salivary glands and so, they have to eat while in the water. The water is what helps them swallow food. It seems as if turtles should be completely water creatures since they sleep, eat and play in the water. But, they aren’t.
Turtles like bob, love to swim and feel just at home in the water as they do on land. They are known to spend a lot of their time basking in the sun. Since their bodies are unable to produce it’s own vitamin D, their habit of basking helps them receive vitamin d from the sun’s UV rays. Vitamin D helps with their metabolism. On top of that, basking helps make their shell dry and prevents it from turning too soft or rotting. Also, turtles have to regulate their body temperatures themselves to stay healthy. So they come in and out of the water to do just that.
They are highly resilient reptiles. They live up to 30 years old and can live up to 3 and more days without food. Depending on the climate of their environment, they can hibernate for several months too.
Bob is about 3 years old. He is a male. It’s pretty easy to tell if a red eared slider is a male or female. A female is usually much larger than a male but their tails are shorter. A male red eared slider’s tail is fatter and longer. The opening on the females tail usually ends just about where their shell ends. Whereas, the opening on the male’s tail extends beyond the end of their shell. Another distinct feature are the claws on their front legs. A male has very long claws while the females claws are pretty much the same size as the claws on her hind legs. Lastly, the face of a male red eared slider is much more pointy. The females on the other hand have broader heads. However, in order for those traits to be distinguishable, the turtle has to be old enough. Young red eared sliders all look the same.
Turtles make a very special pet but it does require a lot of commitment and I must stress that because they live for a long time and grow very big, they may not be ideal to keep as a pet. Letting them go into the wild is also not a good idea because turtles that are kept in captive would not have the necessary hunting capabilities or immunity to diseases that are present uniquely in the wild. You may also risk disrupting the ecosystem causing lots of other types of plants and animals to die.
Still, they are very interesting and they also respond well to your presence. They would also inspire you to find out more about them so that you can continue to care for them in the way that keeps them happy and comfortable. Bob is a terrific pet.