Oogway is just over 1.5 years old now.
If you haven't already met him, Oogway is a Chinese pond turtle (Mauremys reevesii) that I found on the road in May 2018, when he was just a teeny-tiny turtle, 2.8cm long. I'm guessing he had just been dropped by a crow when I came across him, dried out and helpless on hot black asphalt.
Here is a side-view from the same day:
I am delighted to report that he has grown substantially since then.
For comparison, here is a recent top-down view of Oogway, with the same hand for scale:
Want to see something super cool?
Take a close look at the photo above. Look at each section of his shell. Then look closely to see the ring-like structures that make up each segment. Then look to the center of each segment. Do you see the small, solid part in the center of each segment?
Those are Oogway's original shell plates, like from when he was a baby, i.e., when I found him.
As Oogway grew, each segment expanded, so that his entire shell grew larger (and curved to augment his body volume as well), leaving the original segments intact. Much like how trees add rings as they grow.
And here is his profile now:
Besides growing larger, Oogway is much more solid now. His body is thicker, the structure of his head substantially more robust, and his semi-transparent baby claws have been replaced by solid adult ones (the original ones fell out, I think like our baby teeth do).
He also has attitude. Boy does he have attitude...in the best, most entertaining way of course.
With the weather growing colder now, turtles like this normally go into hibernation. Oogway however has a newly expanded home, twice the size of his previous private accommodation, with a heated swimming pool, sun lamp, and two sunning decks. Despite the fancy digs, he prefers to spend much of the day in my pocket, where he can monitor my activities while he rests in comfort, occasionally poking his head out for a gander at the goings on.
I discovered quite by accident this morning that he appears to have a penchant for jazz. Thelonious Monk at least. I'll try out other genres and musicians on him in the coming weeks.
Here is a composite—to scale—of Oogway's photos from May 2018 and October 2019.
As the year end approaches, my thoughts always turn to reviewing the experiences of the year, as well as taking stock of the things for which I am grateful.
Oogway is at the very top of that list.
Previous Posts about Oogway (in reverse chronological order)