Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Sunday, November 2, 2008
See Why It’s Cool to be Cold-Blooded.
They share space with us on every continent except Antarctica. They have scales instead of feathers or hair. They breathe air just like us, but they don’t have an internal heating and cooling system. Who are they? They’re reptiles! And at the MNS we think they’re so amazing they deserve their own special event—an entire weekend of spectacularly creepy, crawly, slithery fun with interactive presentations and hands-on activities presented by local experts.
Explore the cool, cold-blooded world of snakes, lizards, turtles, and other reptiles. Touch incredible critters from Texas and around the world. Find out if it’s boa or python, turtle or tortoise, venomous or not. Play a game of reptile hide and seek. Make your own lizard marionette and more!
It’s your chance to learn to love reptiles and leave with a greater understanding and appreciation of how to make sure they’re a part of our lives for millions more years.
Saturday, November 8, 10-5pm
Sunday, November 9, noon-5pm
MNS Fair Park Campus: Science Building (1318 South Second Avenue) and Nature Building (3535 Grand Avenue)
Admission to Reptile Fest is free to MNS members and is included in the general admission price for non-members.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Save A Species, Save The Environment
By Lori Green
Director, Turtle Homes Rescue
Trachemys scripta is the fancy name for Red Eared Slider.
If you were born before 1975 you may remember small turtles sold in dime stores around the country.
These turtles were placed in plastic bowls that had a small island and a plastic palm tree. You fed them dried ants and they lived about a week if you were lucky.
In 1975 the Federal Government recognized the dangers these turtles possessed. Children would often handle them, place them in their mouths and contracted salmonella, an intestinal bacteria that causes severe diarrhea, dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. In severe cases even death. It became illegal for people to purchase these turtles or any turtle under 4 inches. This posed a devastating blow to the turtle farms that produced them.
Even the 4 inch law did stop them from being sold and today stores such as Petco sell them to the public, who often have no idea what they are getting themselves into. There has been a lot of improvement since 1975. Death bowls are a thing of the past. We now know that all turtles and tortoises process calcium with the help of UVB.
This is light generated by some light bulbs, but the best source is the sun.
There has been huge improvements made in nutrition for these animals as well.
Commercially prepared pellets make up most of the captive slider's diets. Although it is always best to provide them with a more natural diet of fish, bugs, crustaceans, fresh green and snails. By providing a clean environment, which consists of filtered water, varied diet, calcium and UVB, you can expect to have a healthy animal. This is where things go wrong.
You start out purchasing a small turtle that swims happily in a 20 gallon fish tank. The turtle is young. If all goes right you can expect your turtle to grow and they do rapidly. Females can reach up to 14 inches. This means you will need a much larger setup. The water provided should not be less than 350 gallons. This means your putting a swimming pool in your living room or you need to build it a pond.
Along with it's rapidly growing exterior comes rapidly expanding excrement. In other words, poop. Small commercial filters are made for fish waste and you will soon discover the smell of the tank becomes offending quite rapidly and often the water turns yellow. They never told you this in the pet store.
I am also sorry to say your turtle will never love you.
No matter the species you choose, no matter if it was captive bred or if it has lived in your home for 20 years, it will always choose freedom over you. It is you that will give all the love.
Turtles, especially Red Eared Sliders, bite and they bite hard. They are completely inappropriate pets for small children. They will never enjoy being handled. They will never allow you to play like you can with a dog, cat or bird. They are wild by nature and you can't take the nature out of the turtle.
Given all these facts it is no wonder they end up in animal rescues daily. Most animal rescues do not take in turtles. If they do it is because the agent you are speaking to knows of a specialty rescue that deals only in turtles and tortoises. Specialty rescues that handle reptiles are over run with sliders. We recognize the needs of the animal and most will not place them unless the person owns a pond.
A pond, a turtle, no problem. You can go down to the nearest waterway and know your turtle will be happy. You couldn't be any more wrong. Native turtles live in population areas. When you release your turtle you risk infecting the native animals with any parasite, bacteria or even aggression your turtle brings with it. Your turtle will compete for food, interbreed with the native animals and infect them. Whole populations of wild species have been wiped out of areas due to the release of Red Eared Sliders. Over time the native turtles will be replaced. This is a problem that has happened all over the world. It is illegal to own or possess a Red Eared Slider in Israel due to people releasing them and infecting the native pond turtles there. Instead they euthanize what they seize.
We urge you to think before bringing one of these animals into your home. Will you be able to keep it 40 or more years? Yes, that is the life expectancy of a slider if kept properly. Do you own a securely fenced in pond? Do you live in an area with mild enough winters that the turtle can hibernate safely and not risk the entire pond freezing. These are only some of the questions you need to ask yourself before you bring one into your life. Are your children getting older and will loose interest in taking care of the turtle? Are you at a point in your life when you want to travel? Are you in your child bearing years and will be bringing in a newborn baby. Are you willing to risk salmonella? We only ask you to think before you act.
If you would like to help stop the release of these animals into your area waterways please sign our petition at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/petition/602341814
By Lori Green
Director, Turtle Homes Rescue
Monday, June 30, 2008
Here is to view the photo gallery taken by Penny Barrett Hornsby - The person behind this amazing effort. Congratulations to Penny!
June 25, 2008, 5:42PM
Missouri City rescue mission called a success
Volunteers relocate turtles, other reptiles from abandoned golf course
By KAREN HASTINGS
Some four dozen volunteers worked more than three weeks last month to catch and relocate reptiles, fish and other creatures from abandoned golf course ponds at the old Willowisp Country Club. Trammell Crow is redeveloping the 168-acre property at the corner of Fondren Road and Buffalo Run as Lakeview Business Park.
The rescue was launched by a Missouri City employee who couldn’t stand to see the creatures stranded. By the time the effort was over, it had involved not only the city’s Public Works department, but police, parks workers and a half-dozen wildlife groups as well.
“I really had no idea it would mushroom the way it did,’’ said Penny Hornsby, a spatial data analyst with Missouri City’s Public Works Department. “I was so in awe of these people - their passion was so great. It gave you a great feeling to know you were doing something to help.’’
Property developers gave volunteers two weeks for their rescue mission. Volunteers waded through half-drained ponds with nets and their bare hands, rounding up turtles and fish into plastic tubs, and releasing them to nearby waterways. Sean Nolan, senior development manager for Trammell Crow, said the company was happy to help, once the city called about the stranded turtles. “We do have a corporate mission to exercise environmental stewardship,’’ Nolan said. “Basically, our role here was just being cooperative.’’ Volunteers logged at least seven turtle species, 22 alligator gar up to 2 feet long, and some 26 non-native plecostomous sucker fish up to 18 inches. The fish, possibly pet shop rejects, could not be released in the wild and ended up in a private pond. At one point, Missouri City police stopped traffic on nearby Buffalo Run, as a “mass exodus’’ of turtles staged their own relocation across that road to the lakes of Buffalo Run Park. Rounding up the stragglers from ankle- and knee-deep pond muck at the old golf course was a messy job.
“You were basically crawling around in mud, getting bitten by fire ants and scratched by pine cones,’’ said Gina Disteldorf, a Spring Branch high school biology teacher. “I was just completely filthy, basically from under my arms on down. I had mud in places there shouldn’t have been mud.’’ Hornsby said she first noticed the reptiles in early May during a picnic lunch at Buffalo Run Park. A construction inspector saw her rescue a turtle that was crossing the road and mentioned that other creatures were in danger as Lakeview development progressed and the old ponds were bulldozed. “Of course this upset me,’’ said Hornsby, who describes herself as “a huge animal lover’’ with five dogs. “I just think it’s important to not only have the environment, but also the little creatures that live there.’’
After Missouri City Public Works Director Scott Elmer secured permission from Trammell Crow, Hornsby and helpers made wire traps, baited them with chicken legs, and placed them around the old county club’s 10 or so interconnected ponds. Over the course of several weeks, they made twice-daily visits to check those traps and relocate whatever they caught. A member of Hornsby’s vegan group with whom she’d been sharing the turtles’ plight offered to post her request for help with a local turtle organization. When Disteldorf, a Gulf Coast Turtle and Tortoise Society member, read that distress call, she forwarded it to the Houston Turtlers, the Texas Area Reptile Enthusiasts, the East Texas Herpetological Society and the Texas Wildlife Rehabilitation Coalition. Over one weekend in May, 17 people one day and 12 the next showed up to help. Volunteers - adults and children - returned the next weekend. All total, they plucked 92 turtles from the ponds, including cooters, red- and yellow-eared sliders, common and alligator snapping turtles and softshell and musk turtles. “It was mind-blowing how into turtles and how up to their armpits in that muck those people were,’’ Hornsby said. “They didn’t care how filthy the water was. They just started getting in there and pulling the animals out.’’
Volunteers were impressed by the developer’s and construction workers’ willingness to cooperate. “This developer was super awesome and gave us a time frame to do what we could,’’ said Disteldorf. “Most developers don’t want anybody on the property. This one was super about letting us go in and work.’’ On one day, workers with a backhoe joined in, she said. “One of their guys got inside the bucket and used one of the nets to catch stuff. That was pretty cool.’’ Hornsby was also touched when one of the burly construction workers, Sidney Oliver, an earthwork contractor for Trammel Crow, brought her a box containing a mother duck and 11 newly hatched ducklings he had been guarding. The feathered family found a new home at a city park. “It was really sweet because he was so gentle and kind,’’ Hornsby said.
Hornsby thanked her Missouri City Public Works co-workers for helping, and her bosses for allowing her time to check turtle traps during the work week. She was amazed by the interest from so many different groups. “We were thinking, `We’re only city employees. We’re only a few people.’ “But once you realize there are groups out there, that this is their passion, all you have to do is make a call.’’
As for the volunteers, they had fun in the mud. “There was a lot of camaraderie,’’ Disteldorf said. “You’re rescuing things, and it makes you feel good.’’
Friday, May 23, 2008
May is a busy month for turtles. Turtles wake up from hibernation and it's time for mating, migrating, nesting, and babies. Therefore in 2000, May 23 was designated World Turtle Day.
Spring and early summer is a time of turtle nesting and babies. You can see turtles walking on the road or turtle hatchlings around local ponds and creeks. However cute they look and no matter how much your child wants to pick them up and take them home it’s not a good idea.
Turtles—sea, freshwater, or terrestrial—are the favorite animals of many people. These attractive creatures continue to beat incredible odds to survive in today’s world of increasing pet and food trade, pollution and shrinking habitat. Please, read some suggestions on how you can help those beautiful and important little creatures, which have been part of our ecosystem for a long, long time on our website:
10 Things to Do for Turtles
DFW Turtle & Tortoise Club is volunteer based and thrives on donations.
We provide great community for local turtle enthusiasts and people interested in turtles and tortoises. We educate public, provide consultations about captive care and wildlife rescue in cooperation with other wildlife and turtle organizations. We also offer educational presentations for schools, museums, and youth groups. Feel free to contact us for more information.
There are different ways to donate:
You can purchase fun T-shirts and other items at
Or you can send donation through our website
or directly via www.paypal.com to
Thank you for your support.
Director of the DFW Turtle & Tortoise Club
Support Our Turtle Club
Get Your Turtle Club T-shirts & Celebrate World Turtle day
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Later we'll have a casual meeting and meal after the show on
SUNDAY February 24 at 4 15 pm at Nizza Pizza on Cooper St., 1st light south of UTA on the right.
The advantage is, that the show is shorter so we do not have to meet too late AND at the last day there will be great bargains for all the supplements, food, and equipment as most vendors do not want to cary it all back! :-)
It is open to the public Saturday, February 23, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
and Sunday, February 24, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Arlington
Convention Center, 1200 Ballpark Way in Arlington, Texas.
Weekend passes to the Show are $15 for adults; children under 13 are
$8, while children ages 5 and under are admitted free.
More info at:
PLEASE, let me know if you are coming to Nizza so we can give them a
head count ahead.
Thanks and see you this weekend and you can wear our T-shirts to
promote our club and we can recognize each other. :-) Links to the
shops are bellow.
RSVP : firstname.lastname@example.org
DFW Turtle & Tortoise Club
- - -
Support Our Turtle Club
www.veggiechild.com & www.petisnotarock.com
NEW 'Turtle Princess Design' & Get Your Turtle Club T-shirts
Thursday, January 24, 2008
For many people the term endangered species conjures up images of exotic animals far from home. However, the turtles current state of peril can be seen all across the globe. This is both a despairing and unsettling fact as the turtles current state of peril is almost completely due to the actions of people! There are several different factors contributing to the endangerment of the world's turtles.
The Blanding's Turtle is a species in decline throughout much of it's range.
The biggest issue affecting turtles today is the loss or fragmentation of their natural habitat. Turtles habitats of all kinds are being degraded and destroyed at an alarming rate. Wetlands are drained, forests are destroyed and waterfronts are developed. Turtles are literally losing their homes. The loss of habitat and the increase of human activities and recreation on the water and on beaches also affects turtles and their nests in a negative way. Waterfront developments restrict turtles from prime basking and nesting sites. Containments and sewage run off from such developments can also cause harm to turtles. Pesticides, oils, chemicals, and industrial pollution may contaminate the habitats of turtles and their local prey items. When the turtles eat contaminated prey, they may become poisoned and die. These developments may also cause water levels to rise which can drown nest sites destroying turtle eggs. Recreational activities on the water can also have devastating affects on turtles, such as being killed or severely injured when they are hit by boats or water vehicles. Fishermen will often kill turtles for fear of the turtles preying on game fish. Driving on beaches with cars and four wheelers can destroy nests land in the sand.
Pristine turtle habitats are disappearing at an alarming rate.
Where good habitat does exist it is often altered by roads and highways. This leads to the death of countless turtles on roads. Legions of turtles must cross roads when looking for nest sites to lay their eggs. This is particularly detrimental to turtle populations because not only does it lead to the death of a large portion of the breeding population, the female turtles, but the next generation of turtles is also killed off when the eggs are destroyed. This can lead to local populations of turtle species becoming exterminated . Even if the female turtles do successfully find nesting spots and lay their eggs, the baby turtles only have a 1% chance of reaching maturity. Nests are often destroyed by predators like raccoons and skunks. While human activities have negative effects on turtles, they have helped increased these such turtle predators. The increase in human waste provides an unlimited food source for these predators. This has caused their populations to grow. This surplus of predators takes a very heavy toll on turtle nests.
Turtles, including rare and endangered ones, also suffer from being harvested from the wild at an almost unfathomable rate. Turtles and their eggs are collected for the pet trade, food markets or to be used in traditional medicines. Sometimes the turtles and their eggs are captured right off nesting sites.
Snapping Turtles are often the victims of direct killings by people.
Certain turtles, especially the snapping turtles, are the victims of direct killings by people. Many people believe snapping turtles are dangerous to swimmers and will kill them on site. In truth, snapping turtles are not dangerous if left alone. If stepped on underwater the turtle will merely withdraw its head, and if encountered by a swimmer, the turtle will flee the area. Witnesses have observed people shooting turtles for ''sport'' and studies have shown that many times people will purposely hit turtles they encounter on roads.
When all the factors above are combined, it accounts for a massive amount of turtles being lost. It is hard to come up with exact figures for each issue because a lot of the time not enough research has been done, and it is even harder to monitor the effects of certain issues like illegal collecting and direct persecution. What is known is that turtle species are dwindling and it is largely due to our actions. If we do not take the time to take better care of our natural resources and to reverse our detrimental actions towards turtles, we could lose one of our oldest and successful creatures. If this happens what hope do other species really have?
Matt Ellerbeck - Turtle Conservationist