Welcome to The Beginner’s Guide to [Blank], our recurring series where our experts provide everything you need to know about your new endeavor, regardless of what it is. Life is full of exciting opportunities, and while it’s fine to tackle a new adventure on your own, we here at Bunny Ears know that it’s better to have an experienced guide to help on your journey.
This week we’ll be taking you through:
The Beginner’s Guide to Regretting Buying That Turtle
I don’t want to brag, but I’ve bought six turtles and regretted every single one of them. Leonardo DiCaprio, composer Alan Menken, and Will Smith have all owned turtles they have since grown to hate, so you know you’re in good company!
But we’re not here to talk about why Leonardo DiCaprio regrets his turtle (it cost $400 up front and will live for eighty years), we’re here to talk about you, your first turtle, the incredible amount of regret you feel and what comes next.
There aren’t too many reasons to buy a turtle, but there are several for why you might regret it. Let’s run through the most popular reasons before easing you into the next phase of this process.
Why You Regret Buying That Turtle
“My Turtle Costs So Much!”
Owning a turtle isn’t like owning a hat or goldfish; it requires food, vitamins, occasional baths I’d imagine and a cage full of rocks and turtle things. The upfront cost of purchasing a small turtle can seem low (as low as $20 from some pet stores and as even lower as “free” if you just sort of find one), but the cost of feeding and maintaining the turtle’s health only grows over time. Terrariums range from $200 to $400 and require constant upkeep. What seemed like a $20 pet has suddenly become a time and money investment, and since “time equals money,” it’s really more of a money and money investment, and you are NOT made of money.
“My Turtle Smells So Bad!”
All of the worst turtles smell and most of the best ones do, too. It’s why God made them with the shell, a natural way to show predators and prey alike that they’re ashamed of their bodies and accompanying odors. They can stink up a house and quick!
“My Turtle Doesn’t Respect Me.”
This is the most popular reason why people regret buying turtles. Most of us buy our first turtle believing that we’ll finally have something at home that truly respects us. Lacking the confidence to buy a cat (too smart) or a dog (too pure), you settle on a turtle thinking “Surely this slow, dumb, frog-dressed-as-a-van will look at me with the kind of fear and respect that I deserve but can’t seem to inspire in the eyes of my children, wife and coworkers.” As I’m sure you know, that respect will never come.
The turtle lacks a lot of things; friendliness, tricks, cool noises of any kind, and a high tolerance for alcohol, but what they’re NOT lacking in is integrity. Maybe you bought this turtle because you thought it would immediately respect your ability to walk on two legs, and maybe you thought that respect would be contagious, spreading to other members of your family much in the way that turtles spread salmonella, also to families. But listen:
Your turtle is never going to respect you.
Look at me.
This concludes the list of the only reasons people regret buying turtles.
So, What Now?
It’s time for you to decide how you’re going to move forward. Obviously you can’t return the turtle because the sixteen-year-old boy with those scary, hole-earrings who sold it to you at the pet store said he didn’t think you were ready for it and you swore— on your daughter’s eyes, I believe— that you were ready and that he’d better watch his attitude or you just might buy TWO turtles. You cannot face him again.
Your options are clear.
Live with the Turtle Until One of You Dies
A turtle can live anywhere from 10 to 80 years which is a punishing amount of time for a smelly armored shitbox of a non-pet. Some turtles can live up to 100 years, which feels like a crime. If you decide to live with your turtle, you should think of it the way people think about boats: this is a filthy, wet thing that I have to throw money at forever until I die and then it’s someone else’s problem.
“Return” the Turtle to the “Wild”
Drop it in a lake. Release it into the ocean. Roughly plop it into a deepish puddle after a long rain. No one will know and no one will judge you. Tell your children the turtle ran away because of something disrespectful they did.
Kill the Turtle
You know the old expression: “You can’t spell ‘turtle’ without ‘hurt’ unless you’re concerned with spelling ‘turtle’ correctly.” You knew going into this there was a chance you’d have to kill this turtle. You don’t feel like driving to the lake and doggone it, sometimes it’s nice to do something for you, something that makes you feel special, something that makes you feel like God. To that end, kill your turtle with your hands while looking it in its eyes. While it gasps and struggles, whisper “There is nothing after this.”
That’s it! Remember, we all get pets we might not be ready for and we all make the same mistakes. Congratulations on your first turtle experience and here’s to your next one being a success!
Oh also before I forget, it’s illegal to sell turtles in America because of the diseases they carry, so before you buy a turtle, regret it and consult this article, please consider not buying a turtle in the first place.