World Turtle Day (23 May)


Turtles are one of the most endearing and symbolic of America’s native wildlife. Turtles not only fascinate each passing generation of children, who find endless wonders under those hard shells, but they also continue to serve as a timeless role model in children’s literature: the slow and steady turtle, whose patient progress always wins out against his fast but feckless competitor.

Yet the turtles’ lofty status hasn’t prevented humans from abusing the creature. In fact, all land, freshwater, and sea turtles are facing imminent threats to their survival, simply because of human activities. Turtles are the reptile most affected by the pet trade, not to mention the food and traditional medicine industries. Many turtle species also suffer from the effects of pollution as well as from the destructive effects of industrial fishing operations.

Despite these hardships, May is a busy month for turtles. Many have recently emerged from winter hibernation and are beginning their search for mates and nesting areas. For this reason, May 23 was designated World Turtle Day.

For more information:

Famous turtles:

Aford (pronounced “A” as in hay-ford) is the main character of a comic strip. A turtle who enjoys taking it easy and enjoying life, Aford loves to write, read classic novels, and do some gardening here and there. Although he loves to reflect on the puzzles and complexities of life, Aford is by no means perfect. He is easily frustrated, especially when it comes to dealing with the Killer Plant in his back yard who tends to ruin his gardening plans. Aford is the most passive of the three main characters, seeking to live life for what it’s worth while having fun along the way.

Cecil Turtle
cecilbugsCecil Turtle was one of the rare characters to actually be able to outsmart Bugs Bunny. He appeared in a trio of films spoofing the “Tortoise and the Hare” fable. The first one being Tex Avery’s “Tortoise Beats Hare” (1941), after Bugs is shocked by the cartoon’s title (“Why those screwy guys don’t know what they’re talkin’ about!”) he challenges Cecil to a race. The Turtle then calls up nine of his look-alike cousins and they proceed to fool Bugs by appearing everywhere. In the end Bugs wonders if he’s been tricked, and the ten turtles say “It’s a possibility!”.  Cecil next appeared in 1943’s “Tortoise Wins By a Hare” . Bugs is at home viewing footage from his previous encounter with the Turtle. He challenges Cecil to another race after discovering out Cecil’s secret: “an air-flow chasis”! Bugs creates a turtle-like shell and goes to the race, little does he know that the gambling ring has betted everything that the rabbit is going to win (“In fact, we don’t even think the turtle will finish!”). The gangsters mistake Bugs for the Turtle and clobber him. Cecil, dressed as a rabbit, wins the race (Cecil comments “I told you rabbits weren’t very bright!”). When Bugs reveals that he really is the rabbit, the gambling ring rabbits say “Now he tells us!” and they shoot themselves in the head!

Touche Turtle
toucheTouche’ Turtle was part of the New Hanna Barbera show in 1962. Along with his faithful companion Dum Dum, they rescued damsels in distress and helped fight evil everywhere.  An adventurer of small stature but brave heart with his his trusty, but small witted companion Dum Dum, Touche turtle has graced our screens since 1962.

Tooter Turtle
Assuming many different identities, Tooter went from being a lumberjack to a taxi driver, from pre-historic times to the moon. He always wound up botching the jobs and getting in trouble. Crying out “Help, Mr. Wizard!”, Tooter invoked the powers of Mr. Wizard to get him home. Mr. Wizard complied, with his magical chant: “Drizzle, Drazzle, Druzzle, Drome, time for this one to come home!”

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
tmntThe pizza-munching turtles originally appeared in a black and white comic book that debuted in 1984. They were so popular that they immediately spawned imitators with colorful names such as “Armor-Plated Adolescent Aardvarks!” and “Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters”. A cartoon series based upon the Turtles’ adventures debuted in the United States on the CBS television network in 1987. The first names of turtles — Michaelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo, and Donatello — are the names of Italian Renaissance artists who lived between 1386 and 1564. Three of those artists had full names which were respectively Michaelangelo Buonariti, Raphael Sanzio and Leonardo Da Vinci, but as for Donatello, that was his only name.

Yertle the Turtle
On the far-away island of Sala-ma-Sond, Yertle the Turtle was king of the pond. A nice little pond. It was clean. It was neat. The water was warm. There was plenty to eat. The turtles had everything turtles might need. And they were all happy. Quite happy indeed.  They were… untill Yertle, the king of them all, Decided the kingdom he ruled was too small. “I’m ruler”, said Yertle, “of all that I see. But I don’t see enough. That’s the trouble with me. With this stone for a throne, I look down on my pond But I cannot look down on the places beyond. This throne that I sit on is too, too low down. It ought to be higher!” he said with a frown. “If I could sit high, how much greater I’d be! What a king! I’d be ruler of all that I see!”  A classic by Dr. Seuss, the story is about a turtle who wants to be king of the turtles. He uses the other turtles to further his own gain until it all comes crashing down.

Turtle Magazine
magTurtle magazine is written with preschoolers in mind. Each issue combines health, nutrition safety, and exercise with fun and learning. Illustrated stories, poems, puzzles, and games provide an entertaining way for children to develop reading and comprehension skills.

Churchy LaFemme
Churchy LaFemme, made his appearance in the Pogo comic strip in the late 1940’s. His name is thought to come from the French phrase “cherchez la femme,” which is used when someone is looking for a person to blame for a problem. As I understand it, it refers to looking for the woman in the situation, who is undoubtedly at fault for whatever has gone wrong!  He was known to have an eye for the ladies, was somewhat romantic, and wrote poetry. He often was a little bit clueless, too.   Surprisingly Churchy developed quite a cult following. His many witticisms and quips have found their way into modern literature and speeches. Figures and pictures (such as the one shown) have become quite valuable.