Abandoned Red-Eared Slider Finds Home in New York Public Library

April 4, 2016

Sophie came to the library after she was abandoned by her keeper.


Does your library have a resident reptile? 

If you live in the town of Ogdensburg in New York or close to it, you might want to check out the Ogdensburg Public Library because it has adopted a 20-year-old red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans). 

Sophie came to the library in December after she was abandoned by her keeper. She was overweight and bloated and was in what the library’s Executive Director Penny Kerfien said was in poor shape.

"She was in a very scary situation," Kerfien told WWNY TV. "The owner had left. Somebody was supposed to be feeding her and taking care of her. She had no heat, no way to get out of the water, the tank was full and they were feeding her cat food."

At the library however, things are different for this chelonian. When she isn’t in her enclosure, Sophie pretty much has the run of the library, walking around the rooms and meeting the children who visit to read and check out books. Apparently Sophie keeps Kerfien on her toes when she is out gallivanting around the library. 

“Do not believe for a minute that story about the tortoise and the hare,” Kerfien told the Watertown Daily Times. “From the point of view of the one who chases her, I can tell you that turtles are not at all slow.”

An added bonus of Sophie’s presence among all those library books? She has brought a positive attitude among the patrons. 

“People just love her,” Ms. Kerfien told the Times. “The kids come in and the first place they go is over to the aquarium to see how Sophie is doing. And the adults, too. Many of them come and sit at the table near her and just sit and watch and read.”

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