By Erin Manning, Live Animal Care Coordinator at Wolf Ridge
It just so happens to be that our newest education animal here at Wolf Ridge is a turtle! I love turtles and am glad to be able to work with one. So I thought I would tell you all about Maxine.
Maxine is a red-eared slider. It is a pretty common turtle that you might find at a pet store here in Minnesota. But they are not found here in the wild. They are native to the southern part of the United States. Maxine came to us because she needed a home. She was a pet to someone for many years but they no longer could keep her, so we agreed to take her in. Maxine is 17 years old.
Red-eared sliders are semiaquatic turtles, spending most of their time in the water but you can also see them basking in the sun on logs or rocks sticking out of the water. They cannot regulate their own body temperature so rely on the environment around them. We see many painted turtles here in Minnesota doing the same thing.
Because of their popularity in the pet trade, red-eared sliders have become an invasive species all over the world. They compete with native turtles for food and space. Sometimes they escape from backyard ponds or owners cannot care for them anymore so release them into the wild. Luckily for Maxine, her owner found her a new home.
Turtles are long-lived animals and require a lot of space and time as they grow. Maxine could live to be 30 years old. If you choose a turtle as a pet make sure you do your research and are ready for a very long commitment. And most importantly, never release an unwanted pet into the wild, both for the safety of that animal and for the health of our native environment.
Minnesota Herpetological Society – There are some great links to explore here about our local turtles.