Photos of My Muses: Turtles… and a Bird

Not too many art updates at the moment, but things are in the works. I thought I’d post some photos I use as reference or that just inspire me. I often take pictures of wildlife locally to add to my life references. I love seeing these animals, and being able to capture them in moments in time, and later with my pencils.

These are just a few from a local pond where I fed the aquatic turtles some veggies so I could get closer shots. Some of them were HUGE. The species below are Florida Cooter, Red Eared Slider, and Florida Softshell.


^ A Florida Cooter, with an estimated shell length of 15-16″ long.


^ Red Eared Slider searching for food.


Two Red Ears chowing down on the veggies I supplied.  Note the algae growing on the shells.


Big Softshell came in to investigate, but veggies weren’t appealing enough. Softshells eat a more meaty diet, so it’s understandable why he passed on the veggies.

After becoming passionate about turtles, I decided to adopt some rescue turtles in need of homes. There are far too many turtles out there who need good homes to care for them. They should not be released just because someone doesn’t want to care for them anymore.


This is Myron, a Yellow-Bellied Slider with kyphosis (curvature of the spine). His deformity is likely congenital, but shouldn’t affect his health. He and another turtle were bought on impulse by someone who kept them in a tiny tank, and fed them an improper diet. Once this person realized they were in over their head, they turned them over to a turtle rescue organization. The turtle rescue which he and the other turtle below came from is the Mid-Atlantic Turtle & Tortoise Society.

This little guy/girl will get to about 6-10″ in shell length once full grown. He is currently about two years old, and may live anywhere from 20 to 60 years.  He eats leafy greens, veggies, some fruit, quality turtle pellets, and an occasionally a meaty treat. He has an endless appetite, and plenty of character. 🙂


^ Showing the bright and beautiful yellow belly his species is named for.


This is Dax, a female three and a half year old Eastern Box Turtle. She was found in someone’s yard as a hatchling and kept in conditions that resulted in a deformed shell. Her shell should be domed and smooth, but instead, because of improper care she is stunted. She may of may not grow anymore as a result. She was fed a bad diet, given no UVB lighting, and likely did not have enough humidity in her previous home. All these things can affect a turtle’s growth and health.

Eventually, she was surrendered to the turtle rescue (linked above) and while in their care for a year, she turned around health-wise. Despite a bumpy shell, she has gorgeous colors, and a good appetite. Her personality isn’t shy, but not overly outgoing either. She will come over if you have food though, especially earthworms.  She has a very sweet little personality, and is very observant of her surroundings. She gets a diet of greens, veggies, some fruit, mushrooms, earthworms, quality turtle pellets, and cuttlebone for extra calcium.

Because of her deformities, it isn’t known if she will grow any more, or even if she will live the average lifespan of a normal box turtle.


Here she is stretched out under her heat lamp. This is a few weeks after I first got her.

I love both these little turtles, and I look forward to many more years with them. I did a lot of research ahead of adopting these turtles, and it’s a great idea to do that in preparing for ANY pet. It applies especially for an exotic like a reptile. Turtles are tough, long-lived animals with more personality than most people give them credit for. They deserve better than to be bought on impulse and tossed away when someone doesn’t want to do the work it takes to provide care for them.

And please do not take any animals from the wild as pets, especially not box turtles. They are in decline because of over-collection, and they take decades to reach sexual maturity. In fact, most of the hatchlings from a single clutch face high mortality, with only one or two turtles ever surviving to reach adulthood.

We owe it to any animal to do a great deal of thinking before we jump into the commitment of keeping them. So, please, read and research before you decide to buy or adopt. Adopting is a great option, and gives many great animals the second chances they need so desperately.

~ Angela

Oh and PS: This little lady would be upset if I didn’t mention her. She’s my green attack bird.