Although some people would find it extremely annoying if their pet banged into the side of their tank all night long, sophomore Joedeelee Rigdon could never part from his beloved companion. His red-eared slider has been a part of his life for about ten years, and he was thrilled to bring her with him to college.
Obsidian, nicknamed Susan for short, even if there seems to be no connection, is a very special ten-year-old turtle.
“She’s fun to look at. She has a lot of personality. And she likes to look at people too. She gets excited whenever I come into the room, or when anybody comes into the room,” Rigdon said.
Rigdon feeds Obsidian all kinds of things. He says that she will eat just about anything that he puts into her tank. One of her favorite snacks is goldfish.
“I get her fish because I think she gets bored. So, she can chase them around,” Rigdon said.
Red-eared sliders, Trachemys scripta elegans, are a common species of turtle to have as a pet. They are invasive here in Florida since they compete with the natural freshwater turtles, including cooters and musk turtles. Rigdon is happy he can have his companion without worrying about her impact on the native wildlife.
Rigdon first purchased Obsidian when he was about eight years old and when she was a little baby turtle. He traded lizards for her at a pet store in New Mexico.
Obsidian prefers to swim around in her tank, although she also sits on her basking rock. She bangs her shell against the edge of the tank a lot, but Rigdon claims it is worth the occasional headache from that noise and she will usually quiet down more at night.
When asked if there are any defining characteristics of his special friend, Rigdon told a charming story.
“Sometimes she likes to have fish friends. When I get batches of goldfish, she’ll usually keep one alive and let it grow really big. And that will be her friend for a while until she gets mad and then she eats it,” Rigdon said.
Obsidian will continue to live her happy life with Rigdon in her tank in Zeta Kirby.