Hartley: Setting reasonable limits for your turtles and ducks | AspenTimes.com

Hartley: Setting reasonable limits for your turtles and ducks

If you know me, you know that I’m a friend to all animals, including the ones I have no problem eating, which is most of them. I consider myself a champion of the little creatures and very pro-wildlife in my political leanings, and I live with two dogs and a cat. So when I say that I’m cool with someone having a bunch of pets of various species, you can believe it.

But even I have my limits — and apparently my limits are 38 and 33.

Actually, let me rephrase that: I’m not sure what my limits are, but I know that the numbers 38 and 33, both of which factored into animal news recently, are way beyond them.

We’ll start with 38. The category in question is: “What is the limit of pet turtles that you would have in your pants at one time?”

Now, if you were to ask me that question, I most likely would say that you probably should never have turtles in your pants. I mean, I guess I could maybe see how, in some neighborhoods, it might be a good idea to carry a tortoise or two in your hip pocket, but for most people I think zero turtles is a reasonable limit. I’m not anti-pet-turtle or anything like that; I just don’t think pants are the best place to put reptiles.

In fact, if you were to ask me how many turtles I thought someone could even get in their pants in the first place, I don’t think I’d guess anywhere close to 38. But evidently it can be done, as a Canadian man was arrested last month for attempting to smuggle exactly that many terrapins from the U.S. into Canada by hiding them in his slacks.

It seems he put the turtles into plastic bags and taped them to his legs before pulling on what must have been a very baggy pair of trousers to cover them up. Shockingly enough, airport security personnel noticed that the guy’s pants seemed a little bulky, and the ruse was revealed.

The best part, though, is that, it being Canada, the guy’s punishment was essentially that he’s banned from owning turtles for 10 years and has to write an essay about what he learned from the whole experience. I can only imagine what he’ll have to say: “I learned that if you’re going to have 38 turtles in your pants, be very careful when you sit down.”

Anyway, on to 33, which falls under the category of: “What is the limit on the number of animals that you would have living in a mobile home with you?”

I think if you lived in a double-wide or something luxurious like that, you could possibly get away with as many as four dogs or perhaps five cats. Anything more than that, however, would start to get a little gross. But that’s just my opinion. As it turns out, some other people would consider that way too low.

Take, for instance, the family who made news recently in Maine (new motto: “Almost as crazy as Florida but without all that pesky warmth and sunshine!”) for having 33 animals living in their trailer. Among the creatures removed by Humane Society officials were a pygmy goat, two ferrets, nine ducks, eight cats, two chinchillas, three parakeets, three finches and five rabbits.

All the critters except the rabbits lived inside the trailer with a mother and her two sons, and all were in good health despite living in what one news story described as “less-than-ideal conditions.” (I’m going to go ahead and assume that description is accurate based on the livability of my own home, which houses a mere three fur-bearers.)

Kudos to the mother and her sons for keeping the animals healthy, which probably was a large factor in the decision not to file any charges against them. But honestly, how could you possibly live with 33 animals in a mobile home? I can only imagine how bad it must have smelled in there — not to mention how loud it must have been with eight cats terrorizing the parakeets and finches and nine ducks quacking away.

Look, I love ducks and goats as much as the next guy, and I wouldn’t mind owning some myself someday. But my ownership of said creatures would be entirely contingent upon my moving to a farm. I may be with stupid, but even I know that goats and ducks should live outside your house.

Todd Hartley wants two ducks named Confit and A L’Orange. He thinks they’d make tasty companions. To read more or leave a comment, visit http://zerobudget.net.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.

For tax deductible donations, click here.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User


Grateful for Boebert


All the liberal letters denigrating Lauren Boebert’s Second Amendment support are mere extensions of Trump Detangement Syndrome. Gun-haters believe limiting law-abiding citizens’ gun rights will decrease crime.

See more