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Cathy and I have five turtles. Three of them are males about 8 years old, and the other two are females about 10 years old. All five turtles are Red-Eared sliders, which means that they have two big red spots on their heads, one right behind each eye.

I always thought that turtles were really slow, but that's not true. Tortoises (land turtles) are slow, but turtles (water turtles) move very quickly, especially when they're scared or hungry. They're also a lot smarter than I thought reptiles would be. They're always swimming around and exploring their tank, and they like to watch what's happening outside their tank. The only problem with them is that they carry the risk of salmonella, so we have to wash our hands really well after we handle them. Plus, they swim in their own waste, which is just yucky.

All of the turtles in a huge glass aquarium on our balcony. I believe that it would hold about 80 gallons if it was full, but it's only halfway full. The aquarium is split into four sections with wire mesh. Each of the males has its own section, and the two females share a larger section. It's easier to keep them separated than to have them fighting all the time. And cheaper, since the vet bills had become quite expensive.

I made a plastic shelf that runs the length of the tank, and put a big, flat rock on the shelf in each section. When it's sunny, the turtles climb on the rocks and sun themselves. There's also wire mesh on top of the tank so that they can't climb out. It's not really a concern for the small ones, but the two females would be just about big enough to make it out without the lid.

There's a really nice filter on the tank, as well as two heaters. This is like a penthouse suite, if you're a turtle.

The Big Guys
Dong and Paisley are the females, which is one reason why they're so much bigger than the others. They've gotten so big that they're hard to hold with one hand. They're maybe 7 inches wide and 9 inches long. They could probably do some serious damage if they bit someone, but they never try. Dong's the smart one, Paisley not so much.
The Babies
P.J., Amelia, and Whytee are the males. We know this because they have really long claws on their front legs. They're about four inches in diameter.

They all have distinct personalities. PJ's afraid of everything. Whytee's really agressive and tries to bite everything. Luckily, he's not too smart. Amelia's the smartest. She's learned that fingers bring food, and yet are not themselves food, so she doesn't try to bite fingers very often.

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