Amanda Hocking

Amanda's Blog Post

Meet Jasper!

August 12th, 2011 by
This post currently has 38 comments

Today, I went to our county fair. They had a game where you could win live turtles, live iguanas, and live hermit crabs. I still find this concept weird that you can win animals that require specialized cages and lighting. It would make more sense to win a puppy or kitten, since most homes are already equipped for them.

In reality, I don’t agree with the practice of the animals as prizes. But that’s another story for another day. The long and the short of it is – I’m a sucker for animals of any kind, and I always think I should adopt everything so I can be certain it’s taken care of. The fact that I walked away with only one turtle and not a whole slew of reptiles shows an extreme level of self restraint on my part.

Anyway – I digress. Meet Jasper – the newest edition to my family:

The picture’s a bit blurry, but rest assured, Jasper’s face is perfectly clear in real life.

That’s Jasper running away from a Dixie cup. He’s insanely fast. I’m starting to think the Tortoise and the Hare was a total lie.

 From what I can tell, Jasper is a red eared slider. I’m not sure of his age, but he’s small enough to easily fit in a Dixie cup. (I didn’t put him in one. I just put him next to one for a size comparison.).

There’s a chance that Jasper isn’t a boy, but I don’t know how to tell the difference, and I figure that Jasper won’t care if I refer to him as a “he” even if he’s a she, as long as I take proper care of him and give him food and lots of clean water to swim around in.

I’ve never had a turtle before. I’ve had iguanas and frogs and toads, but never a turtle. This didn’t occur to me until I got home, and I begun to panic that I would somehow kill him.

Jasper’s currently set up in a ten-gallon tank that has water about half way up and a resting rock thing designed for turtles such as himself to hang out on. He also has a heat lamp and turtle food that I bought at Walmart. Walmart was the only store open that sells turtle food after I got Jasper, but tomorrow, I’ll go to the pet store to see what else the recommend.

My aunt has three turtles, so I asked her how to take care of them. She said that she feeds her turtles minnows sometimes, but I think Jasper might be a bit too small for that right now. Unless minnows are smaller than what I think they are. She also said she feeds them greens (I think she said lettuce).

I also ordered some books on turtles. And I expect I’ll talk to my aunt more about how not to kill Jasper and keep him happy.

The point is – Jasper is very, very cute. He might be the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. I know some things about turtles – like that have salmonella and they need a habitat with land and water. But if any experienced turtle owners have tips, feel free to throw them my way.

Leave a Reply

  • Sandra says:

    My only comment Amanda is that you should read what PETA has to say about keeping pets, buying pets and what to do when you are faced with a choice. I am sure that with thousands of people reading your blog, many kids have been inspired to dig out turtles from lakes and natural habitats to keep as pets.

    Anyway – wish you the best.

  • Nichole says:

    He is adorable!! (I also agree though, live animals should not be given away as prizes…good of you to “adopt” him!!)

  • ivesbrown says:

    We have a painted turtle, my daughter named Franklin (original huh?) when she was around 3 years old. she’s 17 they live a long long time and probably the easiest animal to care for. At Halloween we put rabbit ears on him and a cotton ball for a tail (very cute). Also male turtle will grow really long front nails, that’s how they get a date.

  • Anonymous says:

    make sure to wash your hands after you touch him.. they can cary salmonella.

  • Linda says:

    Aww, so cute. I won an iguana at the fair once, along with five goldfish. And I had a baby desert tortoise for awhile, but they’re a bit different to care for. Looks like you’ve gotten some great advice though.

  • Jamey Novick says:

    I’ve read through all of these posts, and you’ve got a lot of good advice here about what Jasper needs, with this exception: a good macro lens. I don’t think you’ll be able to capture his expressive little face without one. So – I don’t know what sort of gear you’ve got, or if you’ve got a DSLR at all, but I’d recommend one. Here’s your Jasper dream kit: Canon EOS 7d, Canon 100mm F2.8 macro lens, filter, extra battery, and a few high speed flash cards (minimum 8gb 60mb/s) so you can get some video for all your Jasper fans. A Canon 24-70 f2.8L would also do nicely, but will be a bit more expensive. Can’t wait to see your pictures…
    On a different note, I love to watch your success (and have read all of your books). I hope you are enjoying it.

  • Awwww! What a cutie!!! My cousins have two turtles and they said that their (the turtles’)tank always gets really dirty really quickly. My cousins say that it can be a pain in the butt (sometimes) to clean the tank constantly.

  • SBJones says:

    We fed our turtle cantaloupe. Wait for it to go on sale, buy like 4 of them. Slice and dice it all up and freeze it. Every day just took a frozen chunk and the turtle would munch on it as it thawed.

  • Mari Stroud says:

    Yay for turtles! Red-eared sliders are pretty easy to care for and are pretty sociable, as far as turtles go. I second the person who recommends vitamin supplements (the easiest ones to give are actually liquid drops that you put right into the water), and the one who advised avoiding anything containing ant eggs. When mine was that wee, we actually had to crush up his turtle chow so that he could bite it and supplement with meal worms to make sure he got enough protein. Unless you want to move the tank constantly with the direction of the sun, it might also be more efficient to put his tank in a shaded space with a heat lamp above his rock so that he can sun himself.

  • Hi Amanda,

    Check at your pet store for a vitamin and mineral powder that can be added to his food and a calcium supplement. Turtles, as you can guess, have a lot of growing to do with their shell and this will require mountains of calcium. Make sure the supplements are specific to his species. One of the toughest things about raising turtles to maturity is balancing their diet so their shells can form correctly.
    Hope that helps. Drop me a line if there’s any more info you might need (I covered a lot of this stuff in University).