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.
It is illegal to sell eggs or turtles smaller than four inches throughout the United States, and in Maryland it is illegal to release the species, declared invasive, into the wild. This often happens after owners realize the cute baby turtles can turn into a lifetime commitment. Most red-eared slider turtles live for 20 to 30 years, although some can live for more than 40, and can grow to a foot in length.
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.