So, just how did Andrea and Shellbie end up together? There was a time when each had their very own habitat, their very own tank. They were quite happy, swimming and basking, eagerly peering and probing for the tasty morsels that were dropped into their tanks. Shellbie was living in the area that is primarily used for recovering injured turtles, while Andrea spent her days and nights living in the main area where visitors frequent. There is always much going on in this area! Education events happen here, private tours take place here. The gift shop is there too! Andrea receives much attention and she has adapted over her 10 years of life at the OTCC quite nicely. Shellbie’s area was quieter, not so many visitors, not so many sounds and smells, but Shellbie enjoyed going out, meeting the public and visiting schools, because Shellbie is a big part of the OTCC education program! She is a turtle ambassador for her species, the Midland painted, a very important position indeed! Shellbie would go out with Andrea and a few other turtle ambassadors to tell their stories with the help of the many people that take part in the program. Shellbie does a wonderful job when she helps demonstrate which direction to take a turtle when you are helping them off a road and where to place your human hands so that both turtle and human are comfortable.

Shellbie (Midland painted) and Andrea (Blanding’s)

Let’s go back to last summer when it was such a busy season for the OTCC. So many injured turtles were admitted to the hospital last year. In the hospital area where Shellbie lived she had many new roommates, yet with the warm weather came the opportunity for Shellbie to enjoy the outdoors in the sunshine! She eagerly accepted the invitation! She shared a beautiful pond with another wise turtle ambassador “ Mappy”, a beautiful northern map. This was the first time since arriving at the centre many years ago, injured, that she had been close to another turtle, and she liked it! She would follow Mappy through the cattails and other water plants, both exploring together their summer home and they liked it, they liked being together! They became friends quickly! The summer seemed to fly by and as fall approached, it was time to say goodbye to their summer place and move back inside for the fall and winter months, where they would be warm and comfortable. Mappy was returned to her indoor tank but Shellbie had been so very kind, she had offered up her empty tank for an injured turtle that needed to be in the hospital receiving daily care. Shellbie was suddenly without a tank! The only tank that would be large enough and offer enough space for two turtles was Andrea’s, and Andrea had never shared before! Would Andrea be okay with this change, sharing her home? It was worth a try, Shellbie had already shown everyone how friendly and social she could be. The new friendship blossomed! Almost a year has gone by and the friendship has only grown stronger for the Midland painted and the Blanding’s! Both are looking forward to sharing many years together!

Shellbie and Andrea share their basking platform

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Wendy Baggs, Education Coordinator