Introducing Toby the Turtle

Saw shelled turtle

After my last spending summary post, a few of you were very interested in my pet turtle. So he’s getting his own post. Toby the turtle has been my pet for nearly three years, but he was already four years old (and fully grown) when I got him. He’s a saw-shelled turtle, which is a native Australian species named because the back of its shell looks like a saw.

When I first got him, I put half a flower pot into his tank so that he had somewhere to hide. Instead of hiding, he used the flower pot to climb out of the tank and I came home to find the tank empty. At that house his tank was upstairs in our kitchen, right next to some stairs with a concrete floor below. I had a minor heart attack, picturing him smashed open on the floor.

Luckily he’d gone the other way and I found him safe and sound under the couch in the living room (don’t worry, he can survive indefinitely out of the water as long as he doesn’t get too hot). He escaped another two times before I managed to find a lid for his tank that worked.

Pet turtle Brisbane

His favourite thing to do is to eat. I feed him at night just before I go to bed, and if I stay up to late he starts hanging out at that end of the tank and waving his arms around to get my attention. At the moment he has some crayfish living in the tank with him, which I put in there as food. He’s not very interested in eating them though, and prefers his turtle pellets, so he has some friends.

His second favourite thing to do is to climb out of the water onto his platform and bask under his UV light. When I’m working from home I just watch him do this over and over and over again all day. Funnily enough, he never seems to do it when other people are here. My sister stayed for four days and he never did it while we were home.

Cleaning his tank is probably my least favourite thing about him (he makes a mess!), but I love him dearly and am happy he will be part of my life for the next 20 or so years.

Do you have any pets?

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  1. Wow, cool! I don’t know anyone else with a turtle for a pet. I didn’t know they ate crayfish, I always imagined them snacking on bugs and plants.

  2. Awwww…I am just smitten with that little face! What a cute photo!

    My son has been on-again, off-again interested in getting a turtle. I know they have long life-spans so I’ve been weighing it up. We both just love watching them though. I really think they are captivating pets.

    • They are really fun to watch. I got kind of used to him, but then when my sister visited she spent a lot of time watching him, and it reminded me how cool he is. We have a lake at my uni, and whenever I get sick of sitting in front of the computer I walk down there and watch the turtles. It’s definitely a stress-reliever.

      If you are thinking of getting one, keep in mind that they do grow big and need a big tank. Toby’s is three feet, which is probably a little too small for him.

  3. What a great picture of him looking at the camera. Who couldn’t love that face. As you know, we have four cats. I don’t think it matters what your pet is, you grow to know and love them and they provide endless entertainment.

  4. What a cutie! I didn’t know turtles were such a big commitment, lifespan-wise. That is many years of Toby for you to enjoy!

    • To be honest, I didn’t really think the commitment through when I got him, but I think we will stay together as long as I’m living in Australia. I do shudder when I think about how many times I will have to clean his tank over the next 15-20 years, but other than that we will have a great time 🙂

  5. laura / move to portugal says:

    He’s very cute! We don’t have any pets, but my Mum has a tortoise who is always trying to escape her garden!

  6. Wow, I never knew a smaller turtle could live that long! Cute face and I love the temporary change in topic to learn more about you.
    We currently do not have a pet… had a cat for a long while. Right now we are enjoying being able to travel without making pet arrangements.

    • Travelling is definitely easy when you don’t have pets. Toby is fairly low maintenance, I can give him crayfish and he will eat them over a period of time, and someone just has to check he hasn’t gotten out. My landlords are away at the moment and I’m looking after their elderly dog and two cats and it’s a lot of work (although they are lovely).

  7. Oh, he’s cute! We had a box turtle living in our backyard for awhile last summer. She showed up in our garden. We contacted a local naturalist about her and learned she was probably about 20 years old and that box turtles are a protected species in our area. She no longer lives in our yard, but we had fun while she was there. Our indoor pet is a Maine coon cat and he’s a sweetheart.

    • That’s so cool 🙂 I have a friend who has a pet turtle that he found on the side of the road and took home to his garden, and a few other friends who have had them pop up from time to time around their houses.

      I love Maine coon cats, they are lovely 🙂

  8. No pets here, but the boyfriend won’t let up about wanting a puppy! Such a great weird animal you have there, a little left field, which makes it all the more interesting.

    • I’ve had all sorts of weird pets over the years, including axolotls (Mexican walking fish) and hermit crabs. Toby is my favourite though, because he kind of interacts with me.

      Puppies are so cute, but are also so much work! I remember when we got our puppy (14 years ago) it was a struggle to get her to sleep through the night!

  9. I found a turtle in the park when I was little and I took it home and washed it and gave her all sorts of salad leaves and vegetables and I even got her special turtle food from the pet store but she wouldn’t eat anything and my mom was grossed out by the fact that the turtles are cold blooded so we had to took it back. It was really interesting though.
    And now I’m the happy mom of a 6 month old pup.

    • That’s cool, I have a friend who also found a turtle and took it home, but then it disappeared for almost a year and they thought it had died. It reappeared one day and was fine, but I think they can get stressed out, so maybe that’s why it wouldn’t eat.

      What kind of pup do you have?

      • Maybe it was stressed, maybe it was still hibernating because it was early spring, I don’t know.
        My puppy is a medium sized Schnauzer and Terrier mix. We got her from the street, she was abandoned in a box on a field with her 5 brothers. And she is very sweet and loving.

  10. I just showed Sonia and she was like, “AWWW! He’s so cute!!!” 😀

  11. ergenicplayer says:

    Like your turtle story. Turtles were not native growing up in the netherlands. Here in the states i see them a lot warming themselves up on the middle of the road. Small and huge snapping turtles. We have a small dog in the house as our pet and he is ugly!!!!

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