Wayward turtle ‘Stevie Wonder II’ has a new home
Determined to find its rightful owner or a better home, Sandys resident Miriam Callabrash was undeterred when told posting a lost turtle on eMoo would do little good.
Once the story was published, her phone started ringing off the hook.
Although no one claimed ownership of the rather large Red-Eared Slider turtle, an avid turtle collector stepped up and offered a new home.
Ms Callabrash, who has for many years lived on No Name Lane, just off West Side Road, said she came upon the turtle last Friday.
“A neighbour called out to see this huge turtle in the middle of the road. I grabbed a pair of gloves, picked him up and carried him home.
“He struggled all the way because they don't like being carried,” she said.
She feared it would be run over by passing traffic.
“I gave him a good scrub because he was all covered in algae and sand; he was clearly ravenous so I fed him.”
She chuckled on admitting that she cooks for her dog and so she decided to share the dog's dinner with the turtle.
“I gave him some chicken, the next day I gave him chicken, grapes and cherry tomatoes and he ‘wolfed' it down. I gave him some lettuce as well but he wasn't interested in that at all.”
On Monday she decided to post the discovery on eMoo with hopes of finding the owner or a better home.
She received a few e-mails before the phone started ringing. Most of the callers offered suggestions on what to do with the turtle, but no one claimed it.
“I even tried to give him to my friend who has a small pond that belonged to his mother who had turtles, but he turned it down,” said Ms Callabrash.
“He told me ‘nobody wants turtles these days, the canal behind Gorham's is full of them because people get bored and dump them'.
“They're not indigenous to Bermuda, they can live to be over 50-years-old. Eventually they will over breed, over populate and probably destroy our wildlife.
“We need to protect our own species, people should be aware not to dump them into the wild. It would be better to go to the vet and have them euthanised.”
She was intrigued however, by the message left by Toby Trott, a lifelong member of the Bermuda Turtle Club.
“He said he had a family-owned property with a very large in-ground pool that his grandfather built, and he would be delighted to take the turtle.
“I asked him a few questions and decided to take it to him in my car with the dog and the turtle in the back, in the pouring rain.”
She even had a tour of the property where the turtle would live out its days.
As it turns out, the turtle, once lost, has been found by a new owner with six other turtles as well.
For Mr Trott it all started when he read The Royal Gazette after his walk.
He explained that the pool is about 20 square feet and at least four feet deep, surrounded by palm trees and a climbing area for sun bathing.
“I called up and said I have the perfect place with six playmates. They can all hang out, play and sun bathe together,” said Mr Trott.
“He's absolutely beautiful and based on his size I'm guessing he must be 25-years old. You should see them all swimming around together having a beautiful day.”
He noted that his family has kept turtles in the backyard pool for about 75 years and there's always room for one more.
“I've been a turtle collector all my life,” he said.
On hearing the lost turtle was all settled at his new home, Ms Callabrash was pleased with the fitting end to the story of the turtle she named Stevie Wonder II.
Asked why she picked the name of the great music artist she laughed and explained that it all has to do with the discovery of a baby turtle by a friend named Steve.
“He found it many years ago in the same place this one was found and he brought it to my house.
“When he put it in my hand its little claws scratched me. I screeched, threw my hand up in the air and the turtle flew with it.
“When it fell to the ground still alive I ended up keeping him for about 12 years before giving him away to a friend,” she said.
“I called him Stevie after Steven who gave it to me, and said it's a wonder the little turtle survived, that's how he was named.
“And since this second turtle was found in the same spot I decided to name him Stevie Wonder II.”