So it’s been about a month, I think, since we found Dragonfruit. He’s a really personable little guy! I can see why it’s very easy to overfeed this species. Every time he sees me, he will come swimming over as fast as he can to check my fingers for treats. I did a little research on what treats are appropriate for him because the food I bought came with dried mealworms and shrimp (which he loves!), but those aren’t the best for them. I ended up purchasing some black soldier fly larvae, which have an appropriate calcium to phosphorus ratio, so I can feel a little better about giving him one of those more often. (He loves those too.) He is not a fan of any type of vegetable!
Figuring out water quality is an ongoing learning process. I have him set up outdoors in a 110 gallon stock tank with a homemade filter. Although the tank is on the shady side of the house (only gets a couple of hours of direct sunlight in the middle of the day) and it also has a sunshade over about half or two thirds of the water, the algae has taken hold! That alone, I don’t mind so much, but the water is also cloudy, which I really don’t like. The filter is rated for 550 gallons, and I hand skim debris out of the water every day. And I also do partial water changes every week. I did my first full filter clean out yesterday and I was very surprised to see that the sponges I used as one part of the filtration process were completely worn down! So I’ve replaced those with big Home Depot sponges.
Anyway, I haven’t owned a turtle since I was a kid, and although I loved that turtle (he was a red eared slider), he did not love me! I had to always keep my fingers free of his front end so I wouldn’t take a bite. This little guy will definitely bite you, but only because he has a very strong “fingers = food” association. It’s actually quite funny, when I’m changing water or skimming, I have to constantly push him away from my work area. Sometimes I’ll let him walk around the yard, with me nearby to supervise and he’ll actually follow me around.
Dragonfruit is gorgeous (even my husband commented on how cool he looked sitting next to me). When you found him did he just seem confused or whatnot as a wild turtle, and y’all took him in or had you guys been looking and found someone who was selling his breed? I have never seen a turtle like him before so he’s hella cool. It’s also cool that you did some research to see which treats are best for him! Very smart! Anyways I think Dragonfruit lucked out having you as his keeper
We literally found him at a park on some train tracks. My four year old son pointed him out to me and I’m so glad he did because the train came by only a few minutes after we took him. He’s a non-native species, so I felt okay with removing him. He has never seemed afraid of people and we were able to hand feed him right from day one. I’m not sure how long it would take a turtle to go ‘feral’ or if they would at all, but he’s been very tame this whole time. He also looks to be in quite good condition, with only a few small nicks in his shell, so he was either doing a good job surviving or wasn’t in the wild very long.
So is he a diamondback terrapin? Very cool looking little guy, sounds like a happy guy!
Yes, I believe he’s a northern diamondback terrapin. Definitely not an ornate anyway! And the other subspecies are not commonly kept in captivity, so I think northern is the most likely.
Oh my gosh, he’s so So SOO freakin’ adorable! I have been meaning to ask you for a Dragonfruit update but life has been nuts here. I fell in love with the first Diamondback Terrapin I saw in a Florida aquarium as a kid. I spent a lot of time admiring the one at the J.L. Scott Aquarium in Biloxi, pre-Katrina. I love turtles and these guys are among the greatest. I have yet to see one in the wild, but it’s on my dream sheet!
Big kudos to you, Olivia for doing the research and putting in the work to give Dragonfruit such an excellent life. He is a fortunate little fellow to have been found by you!
Thanks! I had always admired this species at reptile expos, but didn’t really know much about them. So I’ve joined a couple of turtle and diamondback terrapin groups on Facebook to absorb as much info as quickly as I can, as well as a local turtle and tortoise group because I really wanted to make sure he would be able to survive our summer heat if I housed him outside. It turns out lots of people here keep aquatic turtles outside. I’m still going to be closely monitoring the water temp and if it starts getting too warm, I’ll have to bring him inside, but for now he seems to be enjoying it. He’ll sometimes nap in the sunshine or in the shade. Overall, he’s just a joy to have!
I’ve stumbled across this thread again, so figured I’d ask how this guy is doing? Super cool looking and awesome that you took him in.
He’s doing great! He brumated himself over the winter, but now that the weather is warming up, he’s been active and spunky as usual. We’ve planted some things around his pond and he seems to like it. He also has a half log hide on the dirt that he crawls under to take a warm nap pretty much every day. It’s hard to take pictures of him doing turtle things because as soon as he spots me, he will come running over to see if I have food.
Happy he is doing well! how cold does it get where you live? I am thinking about getting one but worry about it getting too cold for them. Also do you keep him in brackish or fresh water? I know they can live in both. thanks!
Over the winter, nights would occasionally get as low as freezing, but he would either be buried in the dirt or sleeping at the bottom of the pond. And I’m keeping him in freshwater.
I was scrolling through and saw him. What a sweet little boy and his name certainly fits him! He must have been someone’s pet at one time maybe because he is so human friendly?
I had several different types of tortoises at one time and I really loved them. Anyway Mr Dragonfruit is adorable!
Oh my goodness! Cuteness overload!!!