Letters to the Editor

August 29, 2014

A basement's no place for a turtle

After reading the story about Myrtle the turtle, which had been held in captivity for more than 60 years, I felt compelled to write.

It breaks my heart to think of a wild reptile, or any animal for that matter, held hostage in, of all places, a basement. I wish the turtle's captors would educate themselves about the plight of turtles. First, turtles form and lay eggs all the time, just like chickens or fish. It is not required for the eggs to be fertilized. If a turtle cannot find a suitable nest area, she can become "egg-bound" and die.

Second, there are pockets of wild turtles in this country where genetic defects have run rampant due to inbreeding. This happens because the turtles cannot find other mates. (Kind of hard for a turtle to find one that's held prisoner in a basement). The turtle population is dwindling due to the ever-expanding shopping malls, etc., that are destroying their habitat.

Last, as mentioned in the story, that poor turtle's beak and claws are not normal. In the wild her beak and claws would be worn down by the normal processes of eating, roaming and digging.

Why doesn't the News- Democrat do an informative piece on turtles? You could interview a herpetologist to talk about the many reasons why it is not a good idea to take a turtle from the wild.

Be kind to all creatures and save a turtle on the road when you can.

Connie Myers

Fairview Heights

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