Safe arrival in Malta for Russian Blue Ophelia and Gerry’s reptile family

Safe arrival in Malta for Russian Blue Ophelia and Gerry’s reptile family

After a blustery night on Sicily the weather cleared yesterday morning and we got the news that the ferry was on its way. We crossed to Malta late last night and all our passengers arrived in fine fettle.

We delivered Ophelia to Alice in Marsakala, a pretty port to the south of Malta. Courier M says he’ll miss this beautiful and calm cat, who was completely unfazed by her reptilian companions.

A rainbow heralds the start of the better weather

A rainbow heralds the start of the better weather

The sun came out so we gave the turtles the chance to catch some rays and stretch their legs

The sun came out so we gave the turtles the chance to catch some rays and stretch their legs

Sun glinting off a turtle shell

Sun glinting off a turtle shell

A pair of inseparable Map Turtle sisters. The contour-line markings on their neck give them their name. These two were formerly known as Michelangelo and Donatello, but were renamed Michael and Donna when they were found to be girls. Their previous owner kept them in a bucket with no filter, and when he got fed up with them he offered them for free on Gumtree. Gerry, a member of Turtle Rescue UK, took them on and their quality of life has improved no end. Many of her reptile family are rescues who were abandoned or living in poor conditions. Gerry knows her limits, however, and won't be taking on any more!

A pair of inseparable Map Turtle sisters. The contour-line markings on their neck give them their name. These two were formerly known as Michelangelo and Donatello, but were renamed Michael and Donna when they were found to be girls. Their previous owner kept them in a bucket with no filter, and when he got fed up with them he offered them for free on Gumtree. Gerry, a member of Turtle Rescue UK, took them on and their quality of life has improved no end. Many of her reptile family are rescues who were abandoned or living in poor conditions. Gerry knows her limits, however, and won’t be taking on any more!

Juliet, Cleopatra and Eloise, three Musk Turtles named after famous lovers as their former male companion was a very active fellow. They hail from North America and are so named because they emit a noxious musky smell when threatened, in the hope of seeming less palatable to predators than either items on the menu.

Juliet, Cleopatra and Eloise, three Musk Turtles named after famous lovers as their former male companion was a very active fellow. They hail from North America and are so named because they emit a noxious musky smell when threatened, in the hope of seeming less palatable to predators than other items on the menu.

Ophelia keen to know what's going on in the compartment next door…

Ophelia keen to know what’s going on in the compartment next door…

…demanding a fuss…

…demanding a fuss…

…and getting it!

…and getting it!

A selection of axolotls. They look like tadpoles that are almost ready to become frogs. They have legs and a tail but breathe through gills. In a crisis, such as a pond drying out, they can transform into air-breathing creatures but don't last long in that state. They originate in Mexico where they live in cold lakes fed by mountain snow melt. But they're very sensitive to pollution and so are almost extinct in the wild. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about them is that they can regrow injured or severed body parts. Two of Gerry's collection were taken off their original owner by his sister who was disgusted that he didn't clean or feed them properly. When Gerry got them one had eaten all the limbs of the other one, but they grew back perfectly. (Don't try this at home, kids!)

A selection of axolotls. They look like tadpoles that are almost ready to become frogs. They have legs and a tail but breathe through gills. In a crisis, such as a pond drying out, they can transform into air-breathing creatures but don’t last long in that state. They originate in Mexico where they live in cold lakes fed by mountain snow melt. But they’re very sensitive to pollution and so are almost extinct in the wild. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about them is that they can regrow injured or severed body parts. Two of Gerry’s collection were taken off their original owner by his sister who was disgusted that he didn’t clean or feed them properly. When Gerry got them one had eaten all the limbs of the other one, but they grew back perfectly. (Don’t try this at home, kids!)

Australian Snake-necked Turtle Sanka. They hunt by lying in mud at the bottom of a lake, sensing small creatures in the mud using their barbels, or spotting their food visually. They strike with astonishing speed, much like a snake. They choose prey they can swallow whole as they can't chew (a bit like most teenagers).

Australian Snake-necked Turtle Sanka. They hunt by lying in mud at the bottom of a lake, sensing small creatures in the mud using their barbels, or spotting their food visually. They strike with astonishing speed, much like a snake. They choose prey they can swallow whole as they can’t chew (a bit like most teenagers).

Gerry has several different species of African Land Snails that she got from African food markets in London where they're sold to African ex-pats looking for a taste of home.

Gerry has several different species of African Land Snails that she got from African food markets in London where they’re sold to African ex-pats looking for a taste of home.

Interesting numberplate!

Interesting numberplate!

A few of the local residents — there looks to be a family connection

A few of the local residents — there looks to be a family connection

Ophelia in her carry basket for delivery to Alice

Ophelia in her carry basket for delivery to Alice

Alice delighted to be reunited with her beautiful cat

Alice delighted to be reunited with her beautiful cat

Just 15 minutes later Ophelia was tucked up in bed having a nap!

Just 15 minutes later Ophelia was tucked up in bed having a nap!

37 Comments

  1. sunsetdragon November 9, 2014 at 9:41 pm - Reply

    Oh man what beautiful rainbow.
    Looks like the turtles are enjoying the chance to stretch their legs.
    Ophelia is a cutie, and love the photo of her napping.
    Safe travels.

    • Animalcouriers November 11, 2014 at 9:13 am - Reply

      Everyone was very relieved to see that rainbow. The turtles were very happy having a romp around.

  2. petspeopleandlife November 9, 2014 at 9:44 pm - Reply

    Oh gee this is a good post. So interesting and educational. Loved seeing the family of black and white cats. Gorgeous cats. And the gray cat was apparently tuckered out since he went to sleep almost immediately after his arrival at his new home. Probably worn out from keeping an eye on those reptiles. 🙂

    • Animalcouriers November 11, 2014 at 9:15 am - Reply

      Glad you enjoyed the post. Courier M learnt a lot about all of Gerry’s exotic pet species! Ophelia took her responsibilities seriously 😉

  3. purrfectkitties November 9, 2014 at 9:47 pm - Reply

    Awww, Ophelia is soooo cute! 🙂 xx

  4. tootlepedal November 9, 2014 at 10:35 pm - Reply

    That number plate would be just the thing for me. The map turtles are very pretty.

    • Animalcouriers November 21, 2014 at 10:38 am - Reply

      You’d find it out of date once the knee is fixed. The map turtles are striking.

  5. Lavinia Ross November 9, 2014 at 11:02 pm - Reply

    Beautiful passengers! All of them! Ophelia looks happy to be home with Alice. Nothing like a good nap at the end of a trip!

    • Animalcouriers November 21, 2014 at 10:38 am - Reply

      Ophelia was probably jolly tired as she did keep an eye on everyone throughout the journey 😉

  6. Jovina Coughlin November 10, 2014 at 12:18 am - Reply

    Glad everyone is safe.

    • Animalcouriers November 21, 2014 at 10:39 am - Reply

      It was a big journey for such a huge collection and a relief for them to be home, and not moving anywhere much again.

  7. thecontentedcrafter November 10, 2014 at 1:00 am - Reply

    I really like those map turtles for some reason I don’t understand as normally reptiles don’t do much for me….. I like my pets to have fur 🙂 Ophelia is a beautiful name for a beautiful cat – now I’m thinking I need another kitty who must be called Ophelia, but I don’t think Orlando would be too pleased ….

    • Animalcouriers November 21, 2014 at 10:45 am - Reply

      Courier M learnt so much from the trip as did we all. Turtles are incredibly varied and actually rather entertaining. Ophelia is a super name (and super cat). Orlando might like a cat ally in his new life sharing with a pup 😉

  8. Sand Spring Chesapeakes November 10, 2014 at 3:30 am - Reply

    Glad everyone arrived safety. Great pictures

    • Animalcouriers November 21, 2014 at 10:46 am - Reply

      It was a huge group to travel with and a relief to arrive at their final destination with everyone safe and happy.

  9. Alice November 10, 2014 at 1:48 pm - Reply

    She slept on my pillow all night and has demanded constant cuddles when she has been awake. I was amazed at how calm and unfazed she was when I got her home- a testament to the great job Julia and Martin have done. My cat has been in more European countries than I have!
    Good work guys and would recommend to anyone.

    • Animalcouriers November 21, 2014 at 10:47 am - Reply

      Thanks Alice – delighted to hear she settled so quickly. Ophelia was a wonderful travelling companion and Gerry rather fell for her! Good luck in your new lives.

  10. crazytraintotinkytown November 10, 2014 at 2:59 pm - Reply

    I think that rainbow was a good omen

    • Animalcouriers November 21, 2014 at 10:47 am - Reply

      That’s exactly what our intrepid travellers took it for.

  11. easyweimaraner November 10, 2014 at 2:59 pm - Reply

    If I get my own car, I want such a number plate, that’s for sure :o)
    Ophelia reminds me so much of Savannah, I love their russian blue fur :o)

    • Animalcouriers November 10, 2014 at 4:08 pm - Reply

      Wonder how many times it gets pinched? 😉 We adore that gorgeous fur too!

  12. Good Food Everyday November 11, 2014 at 8:09 am - Reply

    Can I feature this in the local press? Email me pls leaahogg@gmail.com or private message me on fb me Lea Hogg 🙂

  13. becomingcliche November 11, 2014 at 5:17 pm - Reply

    Love this post!

  14. Linda Anselmi November 11, 2014 at 11:28 pm - Reply

    So cool! Very interesting too. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Animalcouriers November 13, 2014 at 10:31 am - Reply

    Yes, courier M and the rest of us learnt a lot too 🙂

  16. Clowie November 14, 2014 at 2:01 pm - Reply

    I’ve never seen Map Turtles before – they’re very pretty!

    • Animalcouriers November 14, 2014 at 5:38 pm - Reply

      We loved them too – can really see where they got their name from.

  17. Marty the Manx November 15, 2014 at 2:35 am - Reply

    Gerry is quite the rescuer 🙂 Ophelia is gorgeous and looks like she had no problem settling in 🙂

    • Animalcouriers November 21, 2014 at 10:50 am - Reply

      Gerry certainly is! Ophelia kept herself so busy on the journey it doesn’t surprise us one bit that she’d need a good snooze when she arrived at her new home 😀

  18. Gerry Griffiths November 17, 2014 at 7:12 pm - Reply

    Thanks to Martin’s excellent driving and Julia’s great organisation and planning, the journey from UK to Malta went very smoothly without a hitch -apart from the weather! The animals coped well, better than I thought they would. Even my catfish and axolotls were unfazed by the journey.

    All my turtles and tortoises have settled down quickly in their new home and are making the most of the unseasonably warm weather here -20′ in November! They enjoy basking in the sun for hours next to my huge south facing picture windows. Snails are well too.
    Lovely to see Ophelia reunited with her loving owner-she ‘s a beautiful cat and I got very attached to her on the journey to Malta (lots of tickles and cuddles on rest stops)

    • Animalcouriers November 21, 2014 at 10:53 am - Reply

      Thanks Gerry – delighted to hear from you and to know that your bunch has settled well into their new home. It was such an interesting trip for us and Ophelia 😉 Good luck to you all in your new lives – enjoy beautiful Malta!

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