The red sea anemone in Turtle’s tank is fake and feels like a strong, flexible, plastic rubber material. A real sea anemome is actually a living creature with long tentacles and eats. The fake anemone doesn’t eat and therefore needs no attention by me except on “tank cleaning” day. Let’s just say I don’t want another thing living with me that eats.
Our painted turtle, Turtle, is very active and swims A LOT. Sometimes I have to snap a couple hundred pictures in order to take a nice clear picture of him. The sea anemone just added to his happy movements.
Turtle seemed to like the red sea anemone. Notice that “seemed” is the operative word.
Why Alyssa Cried
Turtle left the bright red sea anemone alone for quite awhile. Then one day he decided to start dragging it around his tank. He would grab hold of it and shake it from side to side like a dog does a toy. As the days passed, Turtle got more violent with this sea anemone, but I thought it was just a phase. Sometimes Turtle does weird things.
Anyway, when it is time for Turtle to go to sleep, I cover his large fifty-five gallon tank and turn off his lights so that the tank is in darkness. Then when the morning comes, I take off the cover, turn the lights back on and feed him.
The other day, Alyssa and I were getting ready for work and were about to sit down to eat breakfast. I took off the tank cover, flipped on Turtle’s lights and reached for his food so that I could feed him. I stopped moving because Turtle was head first buried in the sea anemone.
I tapped on the glass of the tank.
Turtle didn’t move.
I tapped harder and called his name. “Turtle? Turtle?!”
Turtle still didn’t move.
I looked closely and could see that his mouth was clinched tightly around the bottom of one of the tentacles of the red sea anemone. I felt sick inside. He must have become so obsessed with the red sea anemone that he clutched it until he drowned.
“Alyssa! I think Turtle is dead!” I called out to her.
She came over and we both stood staring into the tank. Turtle didn’t move and we were both getting really sad. Alyssa started to cry. I got mad thinking about how dumb Turtle was to grip a fake red sea anemone until he drowned!
I took off the tank lid and plunged my hand in the water with the intention of taking Turtle out of the tank when suddenly Turtle let go of the red sea anemone. He swam a little and then popped his head out of the water to look at both of us.
OH MY GOODNESS WE WERE SO MAD!
Alyssa wiped her tears and went back into the kitchen. I wasn’t going to have this happen to us again, so I took the red sea anemone out of the tank. Turtle was not happy about me removing his anemone. I plopped it in a plastic container and set it against the glass of the tank to torture him. Turtle swam towards it. Looked at me and then looked at the bright red sea anemone.
“For-get it!” I said while stressing each syllable. “You are a ve-ry bad tur-tle, Tur-tle. You made Alyssa cry first thing this morning and you terrified me!”
Turtle obviously had nothing to say in his defense and we aren’t going to ever put the red sea anemone back in his tank again.
Bad Turtle! Bad, bad Turtle!