Like any calendar-marked day, these are just extra awareness reminders that each day of our lives, and the lives of all creatures great and small, would experience greater well-being and conscious presence if we were always being mindful of the things these days bring to mind.
World Turtle Day has been sponsored yearly since 2000 by American Tortoise Rescue to encourage you to discover the world of Turtles and Tortoises with greater consciousness. It helps brings attention and respect to these amazing ancient Earth dwellers so that we can learn how to support them to keep thriving and bring knowledge to encourage ways of protecting their survival, as well as their disappearing habitats around the world.
Turtles and Tortoises are the world’s oldest creatures and they are also some of the most endangered animals on this Earth.
Many may not give much thought about the less than fuzzy, graceful, and more commonly embraced animals. But reptiles, amphibians, insects, crustaceans, etc. are magnificent creatures and some of the oldest to ever set foot on this Earth. Turtles and Tortoises must be doing something right, as they have been on Earth for over 200 million years – long before the dinosaurs.
The oldest known fossil of a Turtle is 220 million years old, known as Odontochelys. It has a plastron (lower shell) but no carapace (upper shell), as well as teeth.
The next oldest known fossil Turtle, had beaks but no teeth and lived in water – likely salt water. Tortoises are land Turtles that evolved from an advanced Emydid fresh water Turtle (a relative of the Red-Eared Turtle).
All-Creatures.org shares some great information about World Turtle Day and how you can help save Turtles and Tortoises for the next generation at their link I just included.
“…These gentle animals have been around for about 200 million years, yet they are rapidly disappearing as a result of the exotic food industry, habitat destruction, global warming and the cruel pet trade. We are seeing smaller turtles coming into the rescue meaning that older adults are disappearing from the wild thanks to the pet trade, and the breeding stock is drastically reduced. It is a very sad time for turtles and tortoises of the world.”
Tellem and her Co-Founder, Marshall Thompson, also bring to attention experts’ predictions of complete disappearance of Turtles and Tortoises within the next 50 years. Some of the things that they recommend adults and children can do to help are:
- Never buy a turtle or tortoise from a pet shop as it increases demand from the wild.
- Never remove turtles or tortoises from the wild unless they are sick or injured.
- If a tortoise is crossing a busy street, pick it up and send it in the same direction it was going – if you try to make it go back, it will turn right around again.
- Write letters to legislators asking them to keep sensitive habitat preserved or closed to off road vehicles, and to prevent off shore drilling that can lead to more endangered sea turtle deaths.
- Report cruelty or illegal sales of turtles and tortoises to your local animal control shelter.
- Report the sale of any turtle or tortoise of any kind less than four inches. This is illegal throughout the U.S.
Since 1990, ATR has placed about 3,000 Tortoises and Turtles in caring homes. They also assist law enforcement when undersize or endangered Turtles are confiscated and provide helpful information and referrals to people with sick, neglected or abandoned turtles.
Many of you know that I have a beautiful, gentle, and most magickal Russian Tortoise named Gaia. People may not be aware that my family used to have a Desert Tortoise, named Tee-Ta, and a Box Turtle, named Herman, for years when we were growing up. The two of them were fully outdoor Turtles/Tortoises. The Box Turtle not very social, but the Desert Tortoise Tee-Ta was amazingly social. She would come knock her shell on the sliding glass door to tell us she was hungry every day. She loved me feeding her by hand and was gentle not to nip my fingers. She listened and loved being caressed on her head and neck. When we moved Herman went to a friend who had many other Turtle friends for him to play with and Tee-Ta came with us to Sedona, where she still is.
Then Gaia came into my life in 2008 and I discovered yet another side to these amazing creatures.
From the moment Gaia came home she loved being on my lap when I worked and would snuggle into my clothes. She loved coming by my feet, helping with my painting, looking out the window at Lake Tahoe, spending time curled up with electrical cords and by my computers, as she worked with Binary codes and enjoyed the vibrations that were like her way of communicating, loved all crystals and would climb inside my giant Amethyst, and constantly listened to me when I talked, stopping and cocking her head with her soulful eyes. She came into my dreams before I got her, and she has come into my dreams with messages many times after. She has also traveled to many places with me and been part of a lot of energetic work. She was an indoor Tortoise for almost all the time I’ve had her, until recently.
And if you’ve been following along, she had a magickal hibernation for the first time this year, but is also M.I.A. again now for the last month.
What I came to learn by having a Tortoise companion is how endearing, intelligent, and tender they are in ways people likely don’t think. Most people go for the cuddly companions and yet there are many homeless, abandoned, abused, and neglected creatures that would make wonderful friends, if you chose to take the time and presence to honor, listen to, and get to know them.
Something we could likely receive benefit from doing to everyone and all creatures we meet that are different than us or our pre-conceived ideas.
Today and all days I celebrate these ancient wonders of the Earth.
If you’d like to read more about the symbolism and wisdom of these magickal beings please visit my blog: