Wednesday, May 23, 2018

North Birmingham Zoobrary Reporting: An Interview with Turtle Tuck

by June Lacanski, North Birmingham Regional Branch Library, Children's Department

Turtle Tuck loves to smile at the patrons

Interviewer: Today we are visiting with Turtle Tuck, North Birmingham Library’s resident eastern box turtle. Mr. Tuck, can I ask you some questions?
Turtle Tuck: I’m not Mr. Tuck! I’m Turtle Tuck.

OK. Can I ask you some questions, Turtle Tuck?
Sure. If they are easy questions.

Turtle Tuck, how long have you lived at the North Birmingham Library?
Let’s see . . . 17 minus 4 plus 8 times 3 minus 42 plus 3 minus 14.

Good grief, how many years is that?Your guess is as good as mine; I don’t know my numbers.

OK, OK . . . Well, your sign says 10 years. And how did you come to live at the North Birmingham’s Zoobrary?
In a car, I think . . .

Umm . . . Then who brought you to the Zoobrary?
There was not a Zoobrary then. I made it a Zoobrary. But, a family brought me to the North Birmingham Library. They had kept me for a while and decided librarians could take better care of me.

Well, have you been happy at the Library?
Sure! I get more than enough to eat; I get live crickets and worms every day or so and a big bowl of greens twice every week. I have plenty sunshine every day (though I don’t know how the strangers make it come out of a shiny round thing hooked to the top of my neighborhood). I recently got a bigger neighborhood, by the way. I ate the live plants, but not the pretend ones. I have a great big pond and it always has nice, clean water.

Well, that is nice. How are you able to talk to me? Most turtles can’t talk, can they?
Probably. But I learned almost as soon as I came to the library. Strangers always talk to me. I usually don’t talk back to them, though, because they ask dumb questions. Well, kind of like you do.

Excuse me sir . . . 
I’m not sir; I’m TURTLE TUCK!

Oh yeah, how did you get the name of Turtle Tuck, anyway?
As I remember it, the day after I came to live at North Birmingham Library, the Strangers were standing around saying I needed a name. The Adult Librarian Stranger suggested the name Turtle Tuck because I already seemed to be a Wonder Pet! So that’s my name and that’s my game!

Forget it; you are obviously not an Adult Librarian!

Hey! Let’s get back to business . . . What is the name of your favorite book, Turtle Tuck?
I think I would love to read The Tortoise and the Hair. But I don’t know what that means because tortoises don’t have hair.

Hmmm. OK. What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you at the library?
Well, uhhh . . .  Nothin’ funny ever happens here.

Well, what is the scariest thing that has happened to you here?
So many Strangers! Scary Strangers every day! They come over to my habitat and say, “Your turtle is dead!” I always check and I am not dead; but they scare me for a minute. Note to Strangers: A turtle that is being still is not a dead turtle!

OK, I get it. I’m glad you are alive. Has there ever been one particular scary time?
Uhhh . . . yes! When a Stranger kidnapped my cousin! It was terrible!

What? You have a cousin at the library?
Had a cousin here! He was kidnapped!

Oh my goodness! Tell me about it.
He was so young! *sniff* He was so cute! *sniff* His name was Tiny Tim and he wasn’t much bigger than my head. He was a slider—a water turtle. A stranger scooped him right out of his bowl, dropped him into a pocket and walked out of the library! I don’t think Tim could even read yet. *sniff* It was soooo sad. And very scary for the rest of us. But nobody else was small enough to put into a pocket. Except maybe Charlotte the Tarantula. No, she’s too big for that these later years.

I’m so sorry! Do you have a best friend here at the library now?

Well, who?
Whoever feeds me.

Well, who feeds you?
Ms. Pam Stranger feeds me at grubdown.* And when she gets me out onto the table, other Strangers feed me too. I always smile at them.

You smile at them?
Yep. They love it when I smile.

They feed you and pet you at grubdown?
Yes they feed and pet all the library animals. And they brush my teeth.

They brush your teeth? Do you have teeth?
Well, do you think I can only eat Turtle Soup?

OK. Bad joke. I happen to know that turtles don’t have teeth; you have a beak,  much like a bird. So, have you ever escaped from your enclosure?
Yep. When they moved me from an aquarium to a big plastic tub, they put grass and trees and neat stuff like that. Well, honey, I climbed a tree and did a flip right onto the floor. On my poor back! By the time I got to my feet, a stranger had picked me up and put me back into my nice habitat—minus the corner tree.

I’m supposed to ask you if there is a Heaven for rodents. What do you think?
I think you are crazy! I’m smart, but no live person is that smart. Not even a Librarian!

Never mind! So, Turtle Tuck, what is your favorite thing about staying at the library?
Feeding time! Didn’t I say that before? Grubdown! I love that after they take me out and feed and count all the bugs the strangers all feed me, they put me back into my tub with a lot of loose crickets. And other days, they just put a handful of crickets into my tub. This winter, I didn’t have a chance to slow down like I used to. Now-a-days, I enjoy my new habitat too much to go dormant.

What would you change about your life if you could?
The Strangers would leave books in my yard so I could read more! But, I think we are done, don’t you? Since you seem to be running out of good questions! As if . . .

Well, thank you Turtle Tuck, for being candid with us today.
I’m not Candy! I am made up of . . .

Thank you, Turtle Tuck!

Tune in next month when you will hear the interviewer ask, “Would you care if it rained cats & dogs?”

*Grubdown, when North Birmingham Library's pets are fed and taken out of their cages for petting and holding, is scheduled every Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. Books about animals are made available and staff will give impromptu lessons about the care, feeding, and habits of the animals.

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