Monday, May 16, 2011

Kraken in the rain

Wet weather tends to bring the wild snapping turtles out around here, so I brought Kraken outside so he could enjoy the rain.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bad weather's back

Looks like we're in for a week of rain again. Just as the flood levels have gone back down.

Trying to find a cheap apartment in Rutland, VT. Still don't have a whole lot of time to post comments on everyone's blogs, but I am still here! I haven't gone anywhere, I've just been busy! Hence the short length of this update.

The question I will leave you all with for now is:
If you could keep any animal in the world as a pet, which animal would you choose?

Thursday, May 12, 2011


What a beautiful few days we've been having here in Northern Vermont. After so much rain and flooding it's nice to have a few days of sun and warmth. I know I said I would be back in full swing soon, but we've got a lot on our plates at the moment.

Morel season should be in full swing soon. For those of you who don't know what a morel is, here's a link: They taste absolutely amazing and they grow wild in the woods. We took a stroll down the bike path a couple days ago to see if we could find any, but we didn't. We did however end up finding about 5lbs. of false morels. They're poisonous though, so it wasn't very productive.

Fiddlehead season is full-blast at the moment too. With all the recent flooding it's made for some interesting locales for fiddleheads to pop up. for those who are curious. We've already picked about 5lbs. of those as well and we've found quite a few areas of abundance just waiting for the harvest.

I haven't had much time to comment on blogs lately, but do know that I am still here, still reading, enjoying, supporting, and recommending all of your blogs! We're expecting rain in the next few days so I'll be shut in and have a little extra time.

My question to all of you is: What kind of fun things have you been doing since the cold weather broke? What kinds of things do you have planned for the rest of the spring and into summer?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Off-topic (part 2)

It's good to be home again! I've missed reading everyone's blogs while I was away. Took a trip across the state to see my mother for a couple days. I'll be doing some blog maintenance along with playing catch up reading everyone's entries I've missed over the last few days, can't wait!

So before I get back into the swing of things with info posts, I want to know: What did YOU do for Mother's day?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Off topic

Going to be gone for the weekend.

Remember: It's Mother's day this Sunday. Either do something special for your moms or in memory of them.

My follow list is getting a little bloated, so gonna do some clean up when I get home from my trip to see my mom. I enjoy reading everyone's blogs but just can't find enough time lately. I'd like to keep my most active and attentive audience to follow through this. I might even consider some new additions if you think you've got the blog power.

So if you want me to continue to follow you, don't be a stranger! Comment on this entry and let your voice be heard! If there was more time in the day I would keep all 140 of you, but between work and looking for a new apartment, I'm swamped! I'll be back on Monday!

Be safe!

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Currently Kraken and Rufus are being housed in a 15 gallon long aquarium filled with water from the well we have here on the property, which is mostly supplied by mountain runoff. It's honestly the best water you can use for aquariums in my experiences. It's naturally balanced, full of minerals, and best of all; no additives.

The tank will soon be too small for the two of them and I do have plans to upgrade to a 29 gallon at the minimum, but have my eyes set on a 55 gallon. Even that will eventually be too small for these two. Eventually they'll have to be separated as well.

Here's some facts about Kraken:
His egg was laid on May 20th 2010.
He hatched on August 3rd 2010.
He is a common snapping turtle (chelydra serpentina).
In captivity this species can live to nearly 50 years old.
They also grow very large, reaching up to 75 lbs.

Housing them can be difficult, and unless you have a very large and durable fish tank, it may be best to house your snapping turtle in a large plastic bin or even a large trash barrel.

They are quite temperamental and are highly aggressive. Here's a video that someone posted a while back. I can't take any credit for anything shown in the video and I will warn you: THIS IS EXTREMELY GRAPHIC AND DISTURBING!

Someday Kraken will be this ferocious. No one can save us!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


For those of you just joining allow me to say "hello!" Here's what you've missed so far, in it's abridged form:

Found 3 snapping turtle eggs
Hatched them
Released 2 of them back into the lake
Kept 1, named him Kraken
Bought an oscar for his tankmate, named him Rufus
Here are some picture of Kraken that are very recent:

Kraken next to my hand for size comparison (yes that's a tattoo, long story)-

Here he is lumbering around-


In my next blog I'll talk about his current setup tank setup and upcoming plans.

The Odd Couple

As Kraken grew, I knew that worms wouldn't provide for his full nutritional needs. I went out and bought him some specialized reptile food in the form of turtle "sticks". I had to break these in half so Kraken could eat them easily. There's a lot of "fish meal" in them and the smell of it drove Rufus nuts. He would grab Kraken by the head and drag him underwater, trying to get the food out of Kraken's mouth. This caused Kraken to become increasingly aggressive when it came feeding time. On more than one occasion he would bite Rufus's lips and ride around the tank attached to him. This also made him more "snappy" about taking food from my fingers.

I took a picture of Kraken attached to my finger during one feeding. You can see Rufus looking on eagerly. More pictures coming tomorrow!

Monday, May 2, 2011

(We Didn't) Release the Kraken

Now that Kraken had no competition and the lion-share of the food, his dominion over the tank had come to fruition. He was still small, but had quite an attitude. I don't believe had harbored any ill will toward the race of man. His bites at this point didn't hurt at all and I sincerely believe that they were bites of curiosity rather than malice.

We added enough water to fill the tank up and bought him a turtle dock from the local pet store, along with a fake plant decoration and some nickle-sized smooth stones to add some character to the bottom of the tank. We also purchased a Penn Plax Cascade 400 fully submersible filter to go in the tank to keep the water squeaky clean. But something was missing. Kraken started to seem complacent to the point of lethargy. Something had to be done.

But what could make a fitting tankmate for something that would grow up to be an apex predator? It was then that I remembered my tank that I kept all those years ago when I lived in Michigan. It was a piranha tank. The only thing that could live fairly reliably with piranhas was an oscar and some of the more plated catfish. So on the way back from New Hampshire one day we purchased a small oscar about the same size as Kraken. We named him Rufus (oscars have a very dog-like demeanor for those of you unfamiliar). I knew Rufus would grow faster than Kraken and wouldn't take any of Kraken's heckling.

And together they grew. I'll get into some stories about this odd couple in the days to come.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The 3 terrors

Of the 3 turtles, the one who hatched first (who we named Kraken) seemed to be the dominate force in the tank.  He would often take to chasing us through the glass when we would come near the tank and was always the first to arrive in the feeding area when the tank lid would open.  He displayed a high level of awareness and sometimes staggering intelligence.

One of the other two (Gamera) seemed to like to hitch rides on the back of Kraken whenever he could get away with it.  But he frequently took a beatdown for doing such.  He didn't seem to realize when it was feeding time, and I'd often have to coerce him to the feeding area by prodding him gently with the feeding tweezers.

The last of the three (Gojira) was a loner.  He would avoid contact with the other two and often couldn't be forced to move out of his spot in the corner when it was feeding time.

The three lived in relative peace for about a month, until their personalities started to clash.  Kraken would not leave the other two in peace for even a moment.  With constant head biting, food stealing, and overall bullying, we knew it was time to set Gamera and Gojira free back into the lake.  So we brought them down to the water in a couple of cups and let them loose in the water.  We hope that they made it out okay, but we knew that we needed to focus our full attention on the little terror that we decided to keep:  Kraken.

More play-by-play and tips for raising your own blood-thirsty beaked reptilian killing machine to come in the next few days!

For now, here's a picture of Kraken shortly after he was born:

Uploaded with

Friday, April 29, 2011

First steps

I prepared the tank with about 1 inch water treated with Start Right water conditioner and a touch of aquarium salt.  I placed a small shallow bowl upside down in the tank as well to serve as a ramp for the little guys to rest on.  I then very carefully moved all 3 of the turtles from the Tupperware/Rubbermaid container into the water.  They still had a bit of yolk attached to them at this point.  I kept careful watch over them for the next week or so, waiting for the rest of their yolks to be absorbed.  Once they were yolk-free I went out and bought a small container of worms from the local gas station.  I cut small sections off a worm and fed them to the little guys as often as they would eat.  After a few weeks they were all very eager to eat as often as I could feed them.  At this point I added more water, up to about 4 inches.  After a few weeks at this level they started to display their own unique personalities.  I'll go more into that later.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


After many months of waiting around uneventfully my curiosity got the best of me.  I decided to see if I could "candle" the eggs and see if they were indeed fertilized.  For those of you who don't know what that is, it's holding an egg between yourself and a candle, allowing some light to penetrate the shell and give you a little insight as to what's going on inside.  The date was August 3rd, which was nearing in on the projected hatching date.  I'll admit, I was skeptical.  Could we be wasting our time with unfertilized eggs, as was insinuated by our friends?  Could we be incapable of properly incubating eggs?  After lots of heckling I decided candling an egg would be the best option.  I brought the egg into the bathroom, being careful not to turn it and eclipsed the light of a candle with it.  Veins.  Lots of veins.  No discernible smell of rot either.  My hopes rise.  But just as quickly as my hopes rise, the blood runs out of my face in fear.  As I'm placing the egg carefully back into the Rubbermaid container, it bursts.  I try not to panic and use a couple of pairs of tweezers to open the egg enough so that if the turtle who was in there was still alive he would have air to breathe.  No motion for 3 minutes that felt like 3 weeks.  I used the tweezers and began to gently pull the egg apart.  Then suddenly a head comes flying out of the dark mass toward me and begins breathing.  I leave him alone for a day and come back to find him trying to push his way out of the shell remnants, so I give him a little help.  As I'm doing so I notice the other 2 eggs have slits in the top and they're all trying to make their way out.  At this point I prepare a 10 gallon fish tank for our new arrivals.  Information on that to come.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I built the incubator out of a 5 gallon fish tank half filled with water with a submersible heater preset to 80 degrees.  I placed a Tupperware container half filled with moist vermiculite in the fish tank floating in the water.  I made 3 indentations large enough for the eggs to sit in and placed them in the indentations gently.  I then put the Tupperware lid on (with holes in it) and saran wrapped the top of the fish tank and placed the whole assembly into a shaded spot in our bedroom.  This setup maintained the proper humidity and temperature for the eggs.  I checked daily to make sure the temperature wasn't fluctuating too much and that the vermiculite wasn't losing moisture.  And so began the long wait.  More information come.


I'll start with my common snapping turtle.  It's name is Kraken.

DISCLAIMER:  Keeping snapping turtles may be illegal in your area, check your local laws.

I was walking along the local bike path here in Newport Vermont, I believe it was May 20th or so.  A great bit of it's length runs along Lake Mempremagog so there is no shortage of wildlife to be seen.  Further down the path my better half spotted a strange object.  I assured her it was probably a large bird, but as we got closer we noticed it wasn't moving.  Turns out it was 2 very large snapping turtles.  Both had dug holes on the bike path and were laying eggs.  I had the idea of waiting for the larger of the two females to stop laying her eggs and start burying them and move her down to the water so we could swipe a couple of eggs, then we would finish burying her eggs for her and be on our way.  We very carefully carried the 3 of them back to where we were visiting and put them in a macaroni box with a little bit of moist soil in it to keep them from rolling over until we got home and were able to build a make shift incubator for them.

More information on the incubator in the next post.


This is mostly for my own personal reference, but the information provided herein may prove itself to be useful to others.  Some of the things I will be discussing include (but are in no way limited to):
Common Snapping Turtles
Oscars (the fish, not the award)
Ball Pythons
The weather here in Vermont
Government opinions
Video games

Consider this a kind of notebook.  Or a window to my thoughts.  Hopefully someone will benefit from this in one way or another.