Turtles are one of my favorite animals. In second grade, I spent a good portion of the year studying sea turtles. When I visited St. Martin over spring break of my Senior year in high school, I went snorkeling and kayaking with the local turtle population. I adopted a few turtles from the Pasadena SPCA, hoping to give them a good, safe home with me. So, when I see turtles in need, I always want to be there to help.
Well, at Caltech, as you probably know, we have a turtle pond. Here, a bunch of Red Ear Slider turtles frolic in the waters and bask in the sun. However, sometimes they get a little lost. I’ve seen them heading towards Chandler (maybe trying to cop some of the CDS food), in Baxter pond (a long long way from home!) and on the move towards the houses.
As a proud turtle owner, I feel like it’s my duty to rescue them. So, that’s what I do. Red ear sliders can be a bit feisty if you pick them up or put your fingers near their mouth (they see fingers as food) so touching them is not normally recommended. When they are in danger, though, I do not mind picking them up. Today, on the way to lab, I saw a turtle in danger.
Normally, when I rescue turtles from the pond it’s usually because they walk a few steps into the walking path and could get stepped on. However, the turtle I rescued made it all the way into Millikan Pond! The water in the fountain is treated with what smells like chlorine, so I knew it was very bad for the turtle. She needed to come out.
Here's the runaway turtle!
I threw off my shoes, stepped in, reached down, and picked her up. I then walked over to the turtle pond and placed her back in the water, next to some other turtles. Hopefully, she will be all right and isn't harmed too much, but the turtle rescue definitely makes a great story!