Tattered Turtle

My pet soft-shelled turtle is critically ill. Four days ago, when Yanti wanted to feed him, she found him lying motionless with his eyes wide open, unblinking. He had been like this before but had gradually recovered within a day or two. After two consecutive days of lying immobile in the same spot, I had given him up for dead.

He was discharging bloody mucus from his snout. I emptied the tub and filled it with one inch of water and added a few drops of fish medicine that I got from my neighbour, hoping that he would be well again. He did not. His eyes are permanently shut now.

I had wanted to lay him to rest by a stream, to be where he naturally would have been roaming. Wuan advised me to keep him a while longer to be sure that he really had died. Kept him I did, for two more days. This morning, he was discharging blood from the snout again. He is still alive, but barely, and I hope that he is not in too much agony.

Apart from turtle pellets, Mum used to feed him with prawns and chicken entrails too. He was a picky eater. There were certain types of prawns that he will not even be bothered with. Mum used to bemoan this.

Home is a 16-inch blue tub with six inches of water, not an ideal abode but convenient to be cleaned and moved about. Mum simply adored him. Turtles, they go about minding their own business irrespective of whether you are there watching them or not. They are spirited and active.

I am in a sombre mood now. He had been with us for five years. For five long years, he was my one and only pet in this apartment. For five long years, he had kept me amused with his antics. Now he is motionless. It is so unlike him. If he is not going to get well again, I pray that death will come take him away swiftly. It hurts me to see him like this.

Author: Peter Tan

Peter Gabriel Tan. Penangite residing in the Klang Valley. Blissfully married to Wuan. A LaSallian through and through. Slave to three cats. Wheelchair user since 1984. End-stage renal disease since 2017. Principal Facilitator at Peter Tan Training specialising in Disability Equality Training. Former columnist of Breaking Barriers with The Borneo Post. This blog chronicles my life, thoughts and opinions. Connect with me on Twitter and Facebook.

13 thoughts on “Tattered Turtle”

  1. i know how you feel. i watched a hamster die in pain. it suffered for a whole 4 hours before dying. sigh.. he was on his back. his tummy enlarged thrice its size and he was squealing and hissing. i just stood there crying. :/

    have you taken him the vet in island glades? brothers own that shop and they are the best in their line of work. if it is not too late, you can always go see them. Peng Aun Veterinary.

  2. Natasha,
    Thanks for recommending the vet. I think my turtle is no more. I took a look at him again and he appeared bloated and stiff. This is a sad sad day for me.

  3. sorry about the death of your turtle.
    i have pets myself, and can feel your sadness of losing a beloved pet. remember the good times you had together, i usually find peace in that.

  4. i really should read earlier posts before posting my comments. *am truly sorry about Turtle*

    A bit of bad timing in asking this question, but do you think you’ll be getting another pet to keep you company. I didn’t think we’d have another dog after ours died several years ago but we did, and they’ve been wonderful caring friends.

  5. I am not going to get another pet. I did not realise I will react this way when he was taken ill and subsequently expired. Maybe it is because Turtle was a link of sorts to Mum. Mum had reared him since we got him and when Mum passed on, I inherited him. Only seven months later and he is gone also. No, I will not keep any pet after this.

  6. I’d like to think that there is an animal heaven, being a Christian and a wildlife biologist at the same time.

    Sorry to hear about Turtle. I’d like to think that he decided to go to keep your mom company.

  7. Marita,
    He is one of Mum’s favourite pets. I’d like to think so too, Mum and him, in heaven. Have you ever seen turtles with wings and halos?

  8. well i’m not surprised your turtle is dieing, from the pictures of her i can see that its shell is very deformed, what did you feed her? what lighting did you have/ they need a dpecial uvb lighting. tank size? filter? and did you have a place for the turtle to bask? poor guy, also how often did you feed her cos from the photo she looks very fat, over feeding kills more turtles than anything, some softshells will eat themselfs to death. if she is still alive do some reasurch and get her in a better setup. and a vet might be helpful.

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