I'm taking care of a turtle for a friend of my stepmother Last year she asked me, on her friend's behalf, but I had a lot on my plate, and declined. I immediate felt bad, maybe cus of how my stepma put it, in the request - "the most adorable little turtle" What kind of asshole declines to care for an adorable little turtle!? So, this time, they needed help, and I offered, and now I'm idunno, 5 days in taking care of the turtle, and I learned a couple of cool things. First of all, this one's a Testudo hermanni, and is prooobably the Baltic sub-species, of a species that has separate populations/subspecies in Italy as well as Spain. I did not know turtles did not have external ears! How did I ever miss that!? I always thought they had like head-holes, like lizards and birds, but no, nothing! They're not deaf though, they can detect stuff plenty fine, but they don't seem to care that much. The shell is really an evolutionary testament to stubbornness. It's a stubborn trait to even develop - protective coating that is too heavy to wear, unless you re-adapt your entire physiology for it (turtle origin is most likely aquatic) But that stubbornness is also in behavior, with many turtles being just oportunistic omnivores, just eating shit they find on the ground in front of them. Others, like this one, are more picky. This one eats only vegetables (no strawberries, as turtles slow metabolism allow sugary fruits to grow yeast, which is bad for them) as well as flowers, which is super adorable. Stubbornness is most prevalent in just rumaging though, as the turtle-shell seem perfectly shaped for stubborn burrowing against shit, like, in nature, the turtle seems to have *some* degree of self-size-awareness, and will push against a fallen log if there is *some* room to squeeze through. I notice, though, that anything that gives way, is something the turtle notices, and likes to push against. Basically, it's an animal with a hard exterior, and no flexibility - where a cat or mouse can use their softness to squeeze through stuff, turtles can only rely on detecting give-way-ness - and eagerly pushing against anything that seems to give way. So far, the turtle has been relentlessly trying to push a coat rack, a shoe rack, the dishwasher and the refrigerator (there's portions at the bottom that kind of give way, if pushed hard enough) Activity-wise, it's very on and off. It chills under the heat lamp for hours, then goes bananas trying to climb shit, such as the roof of its little weaved basket "hangar", or the edge of the box its kept in. We were warned to watch out for ambitious climbing like that, which kind of surprised me. As for social interest, it doesn't seem to care much beyond "who goes there, oh you" on and off, it seems to have no interest in any kind of active interaction like you'd expect from most mammals as well as birds. I'm just here, even when it intensely climbs on the box wall, and I let it out to run (and it does this super-awesome superman stretch legs-pose, for some reason) it hardly seems to comprehend the link between it being inside the box - me interacting - and it then being outside of the box. For all I know, the turtle makes the connection, but it shows no sign of "getting" it, mainly because they don't have any way to communicate it in a way a mammal like me can understand (as I understand, turtle communication is super-subtle, as well as rare, since they're not very social. It involves blinking and stuff, idunno) Brain-wise, they're not iirc any kind of "smertest lizard" or anything, they have like, a rudimentary-enough sense of space and memory, otherwise their brain-to-body ratio is not that impressive, even for a reptile. They seem to be quite resilient though, they don't eat much, they don't do much, and when they eat, it's kind of anything, and when they do stuff, it's kind of just banging and pushing against shit. Whenever I nerd for dinosaur stuff - in every geological formation, if you find a dinosaur, you've allready found a hundred turtles first. Any formation, even if it only has a fern, it has a fern next to a turtle shell fragment.