They have more or less been in hibernation for the winter. I haven’t measured the water temperature in their respective ponds, but I’m pretty sure it is frigid.
Every now and then, Mochi sticks his little head out from under the basking island to glare at me, letting me know he’s still alive. If you have never seen a turtle glare, trust me – not pleasant. Peanut, on the other hand, stayed hidden under the Bering Strait (the plastic “rock” that serves as his basking area).
I neglected cleaning the ponds for so long because of the hassle, on top of the fact that it’s too cold outside. I am a terrible turtle mother. My “children” had to swim around in copious amounts of their own poop for a couple months. Yeah, yeah…I actually do know how gross that sounds. Good thing they are reptiles and not human babies, right?
Anyway, I finally found some time on Sunday to clean the ponds. Aside from hurting my back dragging them into the backyard, it was actually easier than cleaning aquariums. Just flush those suckers out with a hose. I lost a few minnows in the process, but to be fair I did call out to them: Hey, if any of you guppies are stranded in the grass, flap now or forever hold your peace! In the end, I recovered maybe 5 of them.
[Please don’t call PETA on me.]
I was talking to Mom on the Bluetooth during this whole event and told her the turtles were acting very perturbed – Mochi actually hissed at me. She replied,
If they not good, you gonna cook them. Turtle soup – it’s good for the lady.
[Mom doesn’t actually eat turtle soup. Please don’t call PETA on her either.]
After the ponds were clean, the really exciting news is that DP showed up with a bag of aquatic plants from his cousin’s koi pond. I love free stuff! Granted, they were damaged by the frost, but who am I to turn up my nose when a horse arrives with a gift in his mouth? Er… you know what I mean.
Once the plants were in the clean water, the turtles immediately started behaving differently. Of course, I knew they would eat some of the plants. I did not anticipate that they would become more alert, energetic, and bold. Mochi has always been a little precocious (when he’s warm) but Peanut is usually scared of everything. I guess he thinks the plants are making him invisible, because he’s out in the open for once.
The joke is on them, since temperatures are expected to drop again after this very brief reprieve. Punxsutawney Phil was right after all (what a weird tradition, by the way).