I recently won a turtle in a raffle at a home for terminally ill children here in Chicago and felt completely overwhelmed with the idea of taking care of the creature. To help remedy this I searched high and low for some sort of guide or book. After a long search yielding very little information about these mysterious beasts I happened upon a very helpful pamphlet entitled "The Big Kid's Guide to Turtles." This pamphlet was both informative and entertaining so I thought I would share it with you.

Special thanks to fifthace for helping out with the illustrations for this pamphlet. My scanner was broken and I spilled soda all over the pamphlet so I had to describe them to him so he could recreate them.

If you are reading this pamphlet you probably just bought or won a turtle. Congratulations, it is hard to find a better value for your dollar than with the purchase of a turtle. There is a reason that turtles are known as "Nature's Moneybags."

This pamphlet is intended to help you in the feeding, care, understanding, and nurturing of your turtle. Our good friend Terry the Turtle will also pitch in along the way to prove you with facts and helpful tips about turtles. When you bought (or won) your turtle you were accepting the responsibility to care of another human life; your turtle's. This is not something to take lightly and it is our hope that if you are overwhelmed with this responsibility you will do the right thing and call the police to come and collect your turtle. They will not mind, after all that is what they are paid to do.

The first thing you should probably know about your turtle is what sort of turtle it is. There are five types or "kinds" of turtles. These are, in order from fastest to slowest, water turtles, ocean turtles, land turtles, burrowing turtles, and soft turtles. Most turtles are actually burrowing turtles but burrowing turtles are very wild and unruly and chances are you will never see them. Terry knows about burrowing turtles. Terry is friends with some burrowing turtles.

The most common type of turtle kept as a pet by humans is the White Lipped Water Turtle. These are water turtles that live in ponds, rivers, and most other places where water occurs naturally. You might have seen one swimming in your bathtub after you finished a relaxing bath. This is because water turtles infest our drinking water, but they are perfectly harmless so drink up. The White Lipped or "Green" turtle ranges in size from 3 centimeters when it is first hatched all the way up to 17 centimeters when it is about to die. Turtles are like horses in that they never stop growing their entire lives.

The largest turtles are the Great Land Turtles of the desert. These turtles live a very long time, so long that no one has ever seen one die of old age and a lot of people have tried to watch but they all got old and died before any Great Land Turtle did. Some land turtles get so big and fat that they have to find larger shells. Scientists have observed this behavior but for unknown reasons it does not appear on film when photographed. Terry is friends with some Great Land Turtles. Terry knows about a special sort of Great Land Turtle.

The ugliest sort of turtle is the soft turtle. These live in lakes and streams like the common water turtles but they are very lazy and unhappy. People do not keep them as pets because of the pheromones the male soft turtles give off. These cannot be smelled by a person but they can affect the nervous system and make a person cry. These special pheromones are called lacrymones and their purpose is unknown. Some scientists believe that they are involved in the soft turtle's mating ritual, while other scientists believe that the lacrymones are actually the physical manifestation of the soft turtle's hatred.

That leaves the ocean turtles. Most ocean turtles come all the way from Australia and live in the ocean because they like salt. Terry is an ocean turtle! Terry knows all about himself!

Ocean turtles are very polite and friendly turtles but because people cannot live in the ocean or swim in the ocean humans are not close friends with ocean turtles. This is too bad because ocean turtles and people might make a pretty good team. Scientists think ocean turtles are the cutest family of turtles and have devoted a lot of science to studying them. They know that ocean turtles live up to 85 years and that's without a single visit to the hospital! Can you imagine not having any hospitals and being in the ocean and having to eat ten times your weight in food every hour? Why, you would be lucky to live 5 years.

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