Remember the small creatures

Moccasin(z9aMobileAL)July 3, 2012

This morning I was out walking the garden, and saw a small turtle purposely coming down the brick path. It was a really small guy, and he could not navigate the taller grass apparently. So I turn and pick up a large unused pot saucer, and fill it with water. He sees me and ducks beneath an upside down container. I set the water down near him, and begin splashing water over his head and carapace.

Instantly, his head goes down to the brick, and he begins trying to drink. I splash more, and he does the same, without moving forward. Then he raises his head and really gaunt little neck, and sees the dish--which is a bit lowered at the edge of the bricked area. I stood there at least 15 minutes watching him. He dunked his snout into the water, and never pulled it out for that time. I watched, not knowing how turtles drink, but every few seconds I'd see him swallow. They suck it in you reckon? After this 15 minutes or so, he raised his head, and then I saw a big puddle appear around and all beneath where he stood. Never moving forward or back, or being afraid of me at all, he stayed there, and peed at least two more times before he again lowered his head to drink. I assume he was cleansing his system, and filling up. After another 5 or 10 minutes of drinking and peeing, he moved on across the brick patio toward the shade of the back garden. However, he ducked between some huge flower pots and grasses at the corner of the Teahouse, and disappeared into that damp coolness. I placed the water saucer into a well of pine straw in a spot where shade can be expected all day. I decided to give him some romaine and grapes, and when I brought it back to the spot, he was again dipping his beak into the water bowl.

The poor creature was dying of thirst. I saw him yesterday as I watered the front flower beds, and wondered how he was doing with all this dryness. Apparently his quest was for water, and that was the reason I saw him coming to the water spray. But a spray does not give much of a drink when it evaporates quickly in the heat.

And since Mosswitch (Sandy-witch) remarked on the turtle digging up her hosta, I'm thinking this is happening far and wide. Don't harm the little creatures. They need water, and succulent plants can provide it for them. If you see what Sandy saw, and what I saw, you will be charitable and not harm them. Be compassionate, and set out around your garden dishes low enough for these good garden friends, who are desperate to survive too. Even the wasps drink water, maybe the bees, I do not know, but water is life and death now. Birds can reach the higher containers, but the others have no way to climb a 6 inch board or the side of a high pot. Make it easy for them, and share your water with a friendly turtle or frog or maybe even a snake.

Bless you if you do.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks Moccasin, for the reminder and the story!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 1:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b


I would never have said that.


    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 1:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

One need to set out a turtle pool so he can climb into it for a dunk( old fry pan) Love the small creatures too but we only seem to have the birds and frogs so far unless my dogs and cat count. Neighbour's llama was loose yesterday but sure never wanted him in my flowers.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 1:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

One of our 'Turtle Ponds':


    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 2:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hosta_freak(z6 NC)

I occasionally see a small box turtle in my garden,but I don't have to set out a water bowl. I have a small creek in my garden that can go to when they want. The only small creatures I don't like are the occasional vole! Phil

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 3:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
eclecticcottage(6b wny)

Hostahillbilly, I LOVE that pond! How cool.

I have yet to get to that point, but I have three old pyrex flameware pots around for anything that wants to use them-they are up though, so pretty much just the birds. Two are kept full to the brim and one has only 1" of water with a rock in the middle for the littler ones that don't want to land on the rim.

I also keep my one garden very well watered where my toads hang out.

I have yet to see any turtles. Lots of birds, bees and butterflies, and toads...but no turtles.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 3:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
leafwatcher(zone 5)

I did an early morning watering today, and as I slowly swung the hose down the row of Hosta in the backyard , I saw a teeny little frog jump and jump to get away from me, and I think get to the water. It was so small, I am not sure if it was a tree frog or a toad, but it seemed more the shape of a tree frog. Hunched down it could have sat completely on a dime...

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 3:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

There are water sources for all the critters here, and the sprinklers and hoses are going most of the time so the dozen or so box turtles and the various snakes, lizards, etc get plenty to drink. I see the turtles drinking all the time. The birds have the ponds, waterfall, several bird baths and the cats' water dish if they are brave enough. Bigger creatures have the woods pond.

We put out our watermelon and cantelope rinds for the turtles, and they love them! It isn't unusual to see three or four box turtles lined up in the middle of the rinds! And I suspect the raccoons take their turn at night.

Jim says he thinks the turtles can smell watermelon for a long ways, the last time he put some out he said they were just hustling from all directions to get there!

Btw, I checked that turtle hole and there were no eggs. I suspect it was just trying to get cool in the damp mulchy soil.


    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 5:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
leafwatcher(zone 5)

I wouldn't want turtles eating my Hosta... But I am envious of you that have them visit your yards.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 6:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I put the photos I took up in an album on Flickr. Link is below. I think gardeners are more aware of the dependency of all creatures on one another, and it comes naturally. It strikes my heart to see anything, or any ONE for that matter, suffering.

And, Sandy, just so you know the background of the name I use for you, it is the name I once wanted to name a beach-side sandwich shop, when I thought I could open one down in Panama City Florida. The Sandy Witch, is what I wanted to name it. Very fond memories of the term. And, you being named Sandy, and using Mosswitch as a screen name, I am pleased to dub thee "Sandywitch." It seems to fall together IMHO. And I still think it would make a nice name for a sandwich shop, don't you? :)

Anyway, here's the link to the photo album on Flickr. And one of the photos for those who do not click on links. Note that s/he is about half a brick in size.

Here is a link that might be useful: Turtle Oasis

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 7:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I leave little dishes and saucers all over my gardens for the little ones. I, too, can't stand to see anything/one suffer. Love the pic of your turtle.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 9:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Moccasin, works for me! Lol!


    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 9:32AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sandyslopes z5 n. UT

LOVE this post and all the kind-hearted people here. So glad you helped the turtle. Sometimes a drink of fresh water is all they want. I don't have turtles or frogs, but I'm going to put a couple of small saucers around in case someone can benefit. I have two ground birdbaths, but I wonder if the fake rock ridge around it prevents some little animals from getting to them. This is a good idea!

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 2:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gardenfanatic(MO zone5b)

Love it!! Thanks for sharing the pics. I haven't seen a turtle for YEARS. When I was a kid, I'd see them around my neighborhood.

Do you live near the woods?


    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 3:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
cyn427 (zone 7)

Great story! I would love to find a turtle or frog in our yard. I did find a poor little snake dead in one of the bird baths a couple of weeks ago. So sad.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 4:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
westy1941(Boulder County, CO)

So nice to know everyone sees this desperation. I decided my little chipmunk can keep digging in my pots - the flowers are shot anyway. This county hasn't had a drop of rain for almost 7 weeks. All the thunderstorms in northern Illinois are skirting us. I've never seen so many wasps, bees or hornets when I turn the hoses on. And wherever it puddles, they're down there drinking! I'm going to put out a few containers. Never thought of that. It's so dry, the puddles on the flagstone evaporate in seconds. Thank god for gardeners.


    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 1:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A box turtle my kids dubbed Boxer adopted us a long time ago. Boxer bathed regularly with us. It was like Moc said. It would submerge its head for a long time(the first time my kids thought it was drowning), but we could see it gulp at the water and its neck swell with each swallow. We always spruced up the "bath" with a nice big leaf of crisp lettuce which, after drinking, was very much consumed. Then the last thing Boxer would do is pee-and pee-and pee-and, well We always wondered where it stored all that liquid. Figured its body was a whole lot smaller than the shell would imply. But then, being a box turtle which is a land turtle it really didn't swim. It floated on top of the water like a bobber. If Boxer came with a friend I told the kids that was what we would name it, so we would have had Boxer and Bobber.

Sometimes little stories like Moc's are the most quaint and memorable. Thanks for sharing.


    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 7:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

No box turtles here, really enjoyed these stories.

My yard is full of treefrogs due to several small ponds that they breed in. We just love them.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 12:22PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Hd are you kidding?
I just got an email from Home Depot pushing hosta plants...
Jon 6a SE MA
First time to be able to grow Hostas, need beginners help
We moved to a new home recently and I have two large...
Beth9116 zone 8a TX
Here we go again !
I seem to recall that about this time last year I posted...
tiddisolo z8 Wales UK
Princess Wu?
Does anyone know of a hosta Princess Wu? Someone has...
Designer Genes
We still have 2 feet of snow cover here, although it...
Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b
Sponsored Products
Acorn Black 86-inch to 120-inch Double Curtain Rod
$79.95 | Bellacor
Flight Path Globe
$79.99 | Dot & Bo
Trumpeted Square Antique Gold 28-inch to 48-inch Curtain Rod
$49.95 | Bellacor
Herman Miller | EamesĀ® Chaise
Back in the Day Throw Pillow Cover
$29.99 | Dot & Bo
Bamboo Cheese Set
$28.99 | Dot & Bo
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™