By Tommy O’Malley
Special to Glacier City Gazette
There are no reptiles native to Alaska. But Basquette, a female three toed western box turtle, has been a part of our family for the past thirty three years. A friend gave us Basquette. We were told if we could keep a turtle alive, then we could be trusted to raise children. Basquette has survived our rowdy children and a stint at Little Bears Playhouse.
I took Basquette along with me when I taught out in Cold Bay, and a herpetologist determined, by counting the growth lines on her carapace, that Basquette and I are exactly the same age. Box turtles can live to be 120 years old. In our will we are leaving Basquette to our son Gus who has already agreed to take over her care when that time comes.
Basquette is not a warm and fuzzy pet. Truth to tell, she’s about as cuddly as a rock. But in other ways Basquette is an ideal pet. She is quiet, doesn’t jump up on strangers or get in the garbage or chew on our shoes. She doesn’t need to be taken on daily walks and can go for a week between meals.