In the first week after bringing her home, Missy was lost. It took a family of four to hunt down a two-and-half-inch-long, walking dust bunny from under the study table. Although the physics of the escapade does not add up, she survived the fall. Missy is a one-year-old, red-eared slider turtle and at night time she sleeps with her neck drooping and legs sprawled out; the only time one truly realises the amount of body that remains cramped inside the shell.
The places where the ears are supposed to be are marked with red blobs. This begets the question whether turtles have ears: they do. They lack the “outer ear” as we know. They can still process vibrations through the inner ear covered by a thin layer of skin. She is a reptile of routine. Everything from bedtime to snack time, from sunbathing to shower (yes, despite staying in water 24/7) works sharply round the clock. She usually feeds on pet pellets. Tiny stinking bombs enriched with protein. But to balance her diet, her parent is careful to add in bits of fruits and veggies. Her favourites are mango, lemon and strawberries.
Her name was inspired by the fictional character of Melissa “Missy” Cooper, fraternal twin of Sheldon Lee Cooper from the television series, The Big Bang Theory. Although she proves herself to be a great play mate, there are times when she is not up for it. Because she loves to sleep. Plopping her in water is no help as she manages to snooze just as well underwater.
There is just one con to having such a tiny pet – the salvation from pesky kids. This group of beings lack any idea of holding a small pet and their acts are bound to make anyone uncomfortable, scared and anxious. One time, she was found lying amidst the tracks of a toy railway set. She was rescued moments before a four-year-old wanted to re-enact a hit and run scene from Tom & Jerry. At times, it gets difficult to keep an eye on her when she is let out to get some exercise. Though a hamster wheel serves the purpose, she is quick to get bored of new toys. Building blockades made of books have failed too; she manages to climb out sooner or later. And so, the washbowl remains as a never ending climb to the top.
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