INGER PHILLIPS: Turtle will knock at door for food

July 10, 2014 

Just finished reading the Letter to the Editor from the lady in Pass Christian who had trouble with ravenous turtles eating her tomatoes. I have only one turtle coming to my house, and it can't reach my tomatoes, which are planted in raised beds.

However, it has been coming to visit me every year now for three years. If I spot it on my patio and call "turtle, turtle," just as Ms. Laird suggested, it will -- with great effort -- negotiate the two steps leading up to my patio door, which are both higher than its legs are long.

If I don't see it coming, it will "knock" on my door to get my attention to be fed its favorite food: leftover Chinese noodles, which are just turtle-mouth sized and which it eats out of my hand.

I have to be ready to close the sliding door quickly, as it will come into my living room if I take too long to offer the next bite.

It doesn't like to be picked up to be deposited outside. When it has had its fill, it will make a quick turn-around and depart. The last two years it has left by rolling over the edge of the steps and falling down, landing upside-down, but somehow righting itself. This year -- it has grown quite a bit -- it makes a flying belly-flop to the step below, stretching its neck to help it stay upright.

I wonder how old it is. It obviously remembers to come and visit me. Can't wait to see what next spring will bring, turtle-wise.



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