Home > News > Archive > 14th September 2004

Myrtle day care's resident turtle

Courtesy of Te Awamutu Courier
260041 ADBy Grant Johnston

A storybook character has come to life for the children who attend day care with Barbara Fleck in Racecourse Road.

A female red earred turtle, estimated to be about 15-years-old, wandered in from Mangapiko Stream, which runs down the back of Brian and Barbara Fleck’s large town property.

“There’s no need for stories at the moment,” Mrs Fleck says.

Mr Fleck had rubbed his eyes after seeing what he thought looked like a large turtle sunning itself on the bank down by the stream.

“But it kept scuttling back into the water before I could get near it.”

A neighbour had told him six months ago there was a turtle on his side of the river, but it disappeared and he did not believe it until he saw it with his own eyes.

Recently Mr Fleck and the couple’s grandson Sean (11) went and collected the turtle from the back of the property. They set out a tub full of water for it with some large rocks inside.

“When she fell over backwards and lay motionless in the water, I thought something was wrong with her,” Mrs Fleck says. “But she was just having a play.”

Myrtle is a very friendly turtle - although she has claws and a bite that could cause sharp pain, she has so far not bared them at anybody and seems to be enjoying all the attention she has been getting. She also enjoys worms - the bigger and fatter the better.

The Flecks were told about another turtle that was found in town further up the stream. They rang Hamilton Zoo to see if they wanted Myrtle, but were told the zoo only took animals from other zoos.

But they have found a good, local home for her.