Jamie Hollandsworth has had pets all her life, but she wasn't quite sure what to expect when her nephew asked her to take in a turtle he'd bought on vacation. Then the size of a quarter, Franklin came to live in Hollandsworth's Bel Air home in a tank and settled in pretty nicely. But life with the turtle hasn't come without surprises.
"I thought Franklin was a male when I got him seven years ago," she says. "But this past March, I found 10 eggs in her tank. We now know that Franklin is a female." Whoops.
And then there were the goldfish: Franklin, a female red-eared slider turtle, seemed a little lonely in her tank, so Hollandsworth added four goldfish to the water for company. Two of them met their end as snacks (whoops again), but two managed to outsmart their tankmate and have now grown too big for her to eat. Franklin has also grown: The tiny little girl is now the size of a standard dinner plate and has gone through four tanks and two sizes of filters.
She's great company and entertainment, Hollandsworth says. "She loves to sit on her rock under a heat lamp where she stretches out. Every morning as I pack lunches, she'll jump off her rock into the water and swim, scratching at the sides of the tank until I hand her a few pieces of lunch meat." Franklin's favorites are Boar's Head turkey and ham, if you're wondering.
Most red-eared slider turtles live for 20 to 30 years, although some can live for more than 40; they are definitely long-term commitments. They're also classified as an invasive species and can't be set free after living in captivity. But Hollandsworth is grateful for the opportunity to share life with Franklin.
"She's a wonderful addition to the family," she says.
To have your pet ¿ including hamsters, snakes, horses, guinea pigs and the like ¿ considered for Collared, email information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
¿Kim Fernandez, for The Baltimore Sun (Christopher T. Assaf, Baltimore Sun photo /March 4, 2014)
What's in a name? According to the records of Veterinary Pet Insurance, Inc. (VPI), quite a lot, and the top dog and cat names for 2012 reveal some interesting tidbits about pet owners.
VPI recently sorted their database of more than 485,000 pet names by popularity. The biggest trend they saw was that the top five cat and dog names were also top on Babycenter.com's list of 100 most popular baby names of the year. At the same time, traditional dog names -- think Fido or Fuffy -- trended toward the bottom of the list or slid off completely.
VPI spokesman Curtis Steinhoff says he thinks the name trends are "testament of the bigger trend of pet owners viewing their pets as members of the family."
I suspect residual fur on our couches and beds could also testify to that.
Without further ado, the top names for dogs are:
And for birds and exotic pets:
On the flip side are the top 10 most unusual names, which can be seen at wackypetnames.com
The Labragator's real name -- Molly -- was a tribute to our chocolate lab, Mocha, whose name was Molly when we adopted her. I'd love to hear where your pet's name came from -- please comment below.