The original mission
of TurtleTails.com was to share high quality pictures of turtles
and a few pictures of other reptiles and amphibians found in North America
with the world wide web audience while not telling people what to do or
think. I just wanted to share good pictures of turtles with like minded
people in a slightly different format. I would provide many large pictures
of the same animal including the plastron or belly and many animals of
the same species. Thus without saying it, I would provide a better source
of pictures for viewing enjoyment and identification.
By design TurtleTails.com
is a celebration of the animals. I do not seek to draw attention to myself
and I have avoided using my name up until now. I do not advocate the keeping
of turtles as pets nor do I discourage it. You do not have to keep
as pets to enjoy this web site.
a presence on the internet I was entertaining fellow herpers and sharing
techniques I use to care for my turtles. I realized that TurtleTails.com
viewers would enjoy going behind the scenes too. The tours would be another
format for sharing pictures of turtles while showing how I care for my
turtles. As evidenced by the number of page views recorded, the tours were
an instant success.
The tours also lead
to a shift in style. The presentation of the turtles changed from a could
be a wild animal to that of pet turtles. It is much easier to discuss turtles
by name and to manage picture files even though many of the turtles are
wild or borrowed. All the amphibians and other reptiles are wild.
The tours also changed
the mission of TurtleTails.com in another profound way. Email started
coming asking questions. The more subjects I cover; the more email I receive.
This has proven to be very rewarding. I enjoy helping people figure out
how they will care for their turtles. The questions often lead to ideas
for new tours to cover subjects I have taken for granted that are not commonly
covered elsewhere. Take for example the question of whether it is normal
for turtle shells to peel. I had but to walk outside, pick up several of
my turtles, and photograph their shells peeling. The pictures tell the
I seek to be original
and to give first hand information rather than repeat "book learned" knowledge.
I enjoy experimenting and presenting ideas for how to projects you will
find nowhere else.
daily has reduced the time I spend preparing new material for TurtleTails.com.
Some of the email is a cry for immediate help with a sick turtle or at
least a perceived to be sick turtle. Many more involve what to do with
a new pet turtle. So email comes first and is answered daily.
That brings us to
this new editorial section I will call In My Hard Shelled Opinion.
I have many bones to pick with those who would exert their influence over
pet owners who enjoy keeping native species of turtles and other native
reptiles and amphibians in general. I am troubled. Many of my readers are
also troubled. It is time to speak out.
I have recently
extended my neck out of my shell by making public comments on proposed
new rules governing native reptiles and amphibians here in Pennsylvania.
I disagree with most of the new rules that will go into effect on January
1, 2007. So I plan to share with you my opinions on a number of subjects.
I will express my opinions while not telling you what to think. I will
be happy if I cause you to evaluate your own knowledge and experience and
to act and think accordingly. I want you to form your own informed opinions.
Where this change
in mission will take me and TurtleTails.com only time will tell.
I will continue to provide pictures and tours and to answer your email.
This remains a hobby and not a passion. So I hope you find my opinions
interesting and thought provoking.
Thomas R. Schucker