Adopting Oogway

While working out in front of my house a few days ago, I spotted something quite unexpected—a tiny 3cm turtle on the black asphalt, in the baking mid-day hot sun, far from any area of freshwater.

I dropped everything and took it inside, placing it into a tub of cool water. iPhone snap:

Mauremys reevesii baby
Oogway (Mauremys reevesii), shortly after I found him, 3cm shell

After searching online and asking for help on social media, I confirmed that the tiny turtle I had found is a Mauremys reevesii pond turtle.

Concerned for the diminutive reptile’s welfare and not having any clue what to do, I tried offering it cabbage and goldfish food to eat, but it wouldn’t touch either. I had to find something the turtle would eat.

So despite having a lot of work to do and needing to head to a couple of meetings, I visited a pet center, where I consulted a somewhat eccentric but very helpful turtle lady.

She recommended the following baby food for turtles (who knew people made baby food for tiny turtles?): 

Baby food for baby turtles
Baby food for baby turtles

Luckily it worked. Though still hesitant, the turtle ate a few pellets, and eventually pooped, which is always a good sign!

I had initially thought the turtle was a Japanese endemic, so my plan was to find a suitable place to release the turtle once I was sure it was healthy. But as I learned, Mauremys reevesii is an exotic species brought in by the pet trade, so I couldn’t release the turtle into the wild in good conscience.

In a sense, it is too late, as invasive species like this have already overrun freshwater environments in Japan, pushing indigenous species to remote corners and driving them to precarious states of existence. But still, I can’t knowingly contribute to the problem, however bad it already is.

So that is how I came to adopt Oogway, whose proper appellation is Master Oogway. (If you don’t know who Oogway is, please drop everything and watch Kung Fu Panda 1, 2 and 3. Now!)

I have Steve to thank for the excellent name suggestion. It is the first time he's been useful, which is proof positive that the world has gone haywire.

I think Oogway is male, because of the extremely long tail, but he’s so small that I’m not sure how to discern the turtle’s gender. 

baby Mauremys reevesii
Teeny-tiny Oogway (Mauremys reevesii)

I have no idea how he could’ve ended up in front of my house, which is on a dead-end road with no natural freshwater nearby. Perhaps a crow picked up him and dropped him, or perhaps someone bought him at a store and either lost him or threw him out.

Whatever the case, Oogway has a home now.

baby Mauremys reevesii
Oogway getting some fresh air

Off to look for a nice aquarium, some rocks, freshwater plants.