Introducing: Potato, The Turtle

On Fridays my mom doesn’t work so she sometimes comes over to hang out with me and the kids. It’s a chance to catch up and the kids are always super excited to have someone else over, especially with the whole pandemic thing. Last week, while she was putting some stuff in her car, she found a baby turtle strolling in our driveway. Excitedly, she picked it up and brought it to the house for the kids to see. 

After some back and forth, we decided to hang onto the turtle. My husband and son wanted to keep him as a pet, but I had zero interest in taking care of something else. Since my husband was at work, I agreed to keep the turtle for the day and make a decision when he got home. 

I thought it would be fun to name the turtle since we’d at least be keeping him for the day. My son is in this cute annoying phase where he makes up words and constantly speaks in his made up language. When I asked him what we should name the turtle, he said something that sounded like “potato.” Based on his body language, he definitely wasn’t saying “potato” but I convinced him Potato was a great name for a turtle and it stuck.

We made a makeshift “habitat” for Potato out of a cardboard box and some sticks. Since I didn’t want a turtle crawling on my nice Pyrex, I made him a water bowl out of aluminum foil. Potato spent a little bit of time exploring his new home while the kids and I went inside and to do some research on what kind of turtle he was and what to feed him.

Since Potato had a long tail, I figured he was a snapping turtle – not exactly pet friendly. With a little bit of searching I was able to determine that we’d probably stumbled upon an Alligator Snapping Turtle. You can be the judge based on the pictures, but I’d say Potato looks just like the pictures online.

Image via Wikipedia

I did some reading on Alligator Snapping Turtles and frantically called my husband to let him know we could NOT keep Potato. First, snapping turtles bite. Second, Alligator Snapping Turtles can live over 100 years and grow to weigh over 150lbs! Pass! 

After work, my husband took Potato to a nearby pond. We’re assuming this is where he probably wandered from as apparently, Alligator Snapping Turtles like to hang out in the bottom of bodies of water waiting for unsuspecting ducks. My husband said Potato was a little hesitant to leave his makeshift habitat, but as soon as he saw the water he took off and swam right in. 

Godspeed, Potato. 

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