Getting to know our passengers as we wait for our ferry in Sicily

Getting to know our passengers as we wait for our ferry in Sicily

Animalcouriers’ route from the UK to Malta has taken us through France and into Italy. Aiming to keep the journey time as short as possible, we took the overnight ferry from Naples to Catania on the north-east coast of Sicily. The next step is to catch a ferry to Malta from Pozzallo in the south of Sicily, but the huge weather system that’s crossed much of Europe meant that the ferry we were booked on was cancelled.

The weather conditions are now improving but all the ferries to Malta are fully booked until Sunday. So we have a day to kill in Sicily which would be lovely if it were sunny, but on a miserable day in November it looks about as much fun as Cleethorpes!

Alice’s Russian Blue cat Ophelia and Gerry’s cornucopia of creatures are all bearing up well, despite the delay. We have three tanks of water on board, one each for the catfish, the axolotls and the Australian Snake-neck Turtle. We have to top the tanks up every day, to make up for spillages caused by roundabouts, potholes, speed bumps and ferry ramps.

The tanks’ heaters and filters are running off auxiliary batteries we had specially fitted in the van for this journey. We also have an external power option like the ones you seen on camper vans. The batteries are working well, being topped up automatically while the engine is running and keeping the heaters and filters running all the time.

The five tortoises and an African Side-neck Turtle need plenty of heat, which we’re providing with hot water bottles and electric heat pads during the day, and by bringing them into our hotel at night. The Slider Turtles can cope with cooler conditions.

Niala is an African Side-neck Turtle, also known as an African Helmeted Turtle. These turtles are so called because they can't retract their heads into their shells, so fold them neatly to the side to hide or for protection.

Niala is an African Side-neck Turtle, also known as an African Helmeted Turtle. These turtles are so called because they can’t retract their heads into their shells, so fold them neatly to the side to hide or for protection.

Niala's love handles! African Side-necks are know as the Labradors of the turtle world as they're notorious for putting on weight easily. Bottom-walkers, rather than swimmers, they're voracious carnivores who sometimes hunt in groups. They've been known to encircle a waterbird in the shallows, and drag it under to drown it before eating it up.

Niala’s love handles! African Side-necks are know as the Labradors of the turtle world as they’re notorious for putting on weight easily. Bottom-walkers, rather than swimmers, they’re voracious carnivores who sometimes hunt in groups. They’ve been known to encircle a waterbird in the shallows, and drag it under to drown it before eating it up.

This Giant African Land Snail is of the Tiger variety. He's just a baby, about an inch long at the moment, but could grow to 10 inches. Imagine having them in your veg patch!

This Giant African Land Snail is of the Tiger variety. He’s just a baby, about an inch long at the moment, but could grow to 10 inches. Imagine having them in your veg patch!

Choppy waters off Sicily

Choppy waters off Sicily

Pulling in to Catania

Pulling in to Catania

By |2016-10-17T10:50:37+00:00Friday, November 7, 2014|animal transportation, exotic pets, pet travel by road, pet travel by sea|0 Comments

No Comments

  1. scarlybobs November 7, 2014 at 6:03 pm - Reply

    Ah, I love Giant African Land snails! We had the slightly smaller version (his name was Sid!) but I would love a Tiger snail 🙂

    • Animalcouriers November 7, 2014 at 6:06 pm - Reply

      Ah, someone with an understanding of some of Gerry’s collection. Might you try and get a Tiger Sid? 😉

      • scarlybobs November 7, 2014 at 6:26 pm - Reply

        Haha I would love one, but my partner has unfortunately banned us from acquiring any more pets…we have quite the zoo at the moment 😀

  2. dogdaz November 7, 2014 at 6:05 pm - Reply

    What an incredible adventure, despite the choppy weather

    • Animalcouriers November 11, 2014 at 10:32 am - Reply

      Yup, the weather added to the adventure but luckily the arc moves on!

  3. Jovina Coughlin November 7, 2014 at 6:57 pm - Reply

    Too bad about the weather. However there is still great food. Interesting pet collection I never think of snails in that way.

  4. onespoiledcat November 7, 2014 at 7:11 pm - Reply

    Wow – a ten-inch snail…..that’s a whopper!

    Pam

  5. purrfectkitties November 7, 2014 at 9:55 pm - Reply

    Cool pics! This trip sounds like a real adventure! 🙂 xx Roxy & Tigerlino <3

  6. becomingcliche November 8, 2014 at 1:51 pm - Reply

    I love side-neck turtles. We’ve got one species at our zoo. They always make me laugh.

  7. easyweimaraner November 8, 2014 at 2:27 pm - Reply

    Oh I wish Hell-mut could se Niala, bet he would fall in love immediately :o)

  8. angelswhisper2011 November 8, 2014 at 9:28 pm - Reply

    Niala has such a cute face. I wonder who is faster, the snail or Niala 😀 Love the picture of Sicily 🙂 Pawkisses for a Happy Weekend 🙂 <3

  9. petspeopleandlife November 8, 2014 at 10:33 pm - Reply

    Well that is a bummer with the weather. I must say that no expenses were spared in order for the lady to get her reptiles and snails, etc to their destination in top from. You folks are indeed the “bestas in the Westas” for transporting pets. You have so much patience and so much pride in your job. I think you all are incredible.

  10. Gunta November 9, 2014 at 5:29 am - Reply

    I agree with petspeopleandlife that you folks clearly go the extra mile. What a bunch and such nasty weather to contend with. Hoping the trip commences without any further kinks or delays.

  11. Shiva & Jaya November 9, 2014 at 7:15 pm - Reply

    This is your elected Purrime Ministerettes.

    Snails and turtles, we saluting you!

  12. Sheila Morris November 9, 2014 at 9:01 pm - Reply

    Good Lord, you all have the most unusual job in the whole world – and I have to commend you for the preparations you have to make for your journeys – and always a problem to overcome…and always you overcome! The Red Man sends Paw Snaps and Twirls to you on your journey!! 🙂

  13. Animalcouriers November 13, 2014 at 10:30 am - Reply

    Ha ha – eScargot – they sure would be scary in your gardens!

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