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  • Sarah Jane Connop

Clean Turtle Envy

You know that feeling when you pull up besides a car that’s the same make/model as yours, only that car is shiny and clean, whereas your’s is dusty inside and out, has bat poo on the roof and the light cases are all full of bugs? Well if you have trouble relating to my clean car envy, then you’re gonna have a real hard time understanding me when I tell you from time to time I’m afflicted by clean TURTLE envy!

I see some captive turtles every now and then that have the most perfect carapace (shell). They look like they’ve just come out of the turtle factory, rather not like my own turtle, Stanley that has been growing his shell since birth and which has plenty of flaking, peeling and a mottling of colours including a prominent green caused by algae.

We do, however try to keep Stanley looking sports-car-clean because he’s a bit of a star performer for True Blue Reptiles. Forget the chamois and the turtle wax! Stan’s grooming tool of choice is a soft-bristled toothbrush, and it’s not for his pearly whites, of which he has none. His shell gets scrubbed with the toothbrush every fortnight, despite this he’ll always tend to look a bit green about the edges, and to be fair we need to be gentle with his shell because it’s alive and sensitive and certainly can be ticklish in places.

The algae is actually not to his detriment; wild turtles are covered in the stuff. It’s a natural growth caused by sunlight, and while Stanley does not live outside at this time. We do invest in a very special globe that provides 4 different aspects of light to help him grow strong and properly metabolise calcium and other minerals.

Stanley the Long-necked Turtle

It may be that some captive turtles with no algae growth are in fact not be getting the required amount of UVB light for good health. So in truth I shouldn’t be worried about a scruffy looking shell, because as we all know, it’s what’s on the inside that really counts, and in this case that happens to be a healthy, happy turtle.

Oh and when Stanley had a particularly bad shell day, we’ll just pop a party hat on him. looking fresh Stan, looking fresh!

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