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The Turtles of Fay Bond
Fay feeds a crowd every night

et of the Month heavily favors those furry, four-legged pets with collars and identification tags. There have been a few feathered and feline exceptions. A herd of horses shared the honor in 2010. Even a turkey once claimed the title.

This month the honor goes to a collection of creatures in the water-filled ditch off Neuse Drive. For bringing diversity (and a new collective noun) to Pet of the Month, TownDock.net names Fay Bond’s bale of turtles Misses and Messrs. November.

Pet of the Month
Turtles gather when Fay calls.

Fay Bond doesn’t know when, exactly, she began feeding the turtles behind her home. But she does know why. “I had a row of strawberries right next to the ditch, and they’d come up out of the ditch and eat my garden. And I thought, well, they like vegetable scraps. So I thought, well, I’ll start saving my vegetable scraps. So that’s what I started doing.”

Pet of the Month
Fay Bond feeding her turtles.

Soon, the turtles were transitioned from scraps to dog kibble. John Bond, Fay’s late husband, suggested ordering turtle food at a nearby feed store. “It looked just like dog food. And dog food’s cheaper.”

Fay & the turtles, happy together.

Over the years, the size of the bale has varied. Fay says she’s seen as many as 80 turtles gather at one time. On the day she spoke to TownDock.net, she counted twenty at the seawall. More were making their way to her from both ends of the creek. Fay has a rental house nearby and reports that the tenant has extended the feeding tradition to her section of the seawall. Pet of the Month
Fay along the seawall.
Pet of the Month
Kibble in the water.

August brings a change to the turtles’ diet with Watermelon Sunday. A large container is set up near the tables to collect rinds. Fay saves them to make chutney and to feed the bale, creating an effective recycling system. It can take up to two weeks for the turtles to eat it all.

Pet of the Month
Future turtle food.
Pet of the Month
Turtles trying to scale the wall.

In between tossing handfuls of kibble to the hissing masses, Fay points out different snapping turtles and two sliders. A local girl, ready to leave for college, asked if she could release her hand-raised pets into the creek. Fay told her she couldn’t guarantee the turtles’ acceptance by the bale, but to go ahead. “I have seen two sliders in here, and I feel sure that one of those is the one she brought here.”

Pet of the Month
Several species of turtle gather in the creek. Along with the donated sliders are Common Snapping Turtles and Alligator Snapping Turtles.
Scrambling over each other to get fed.
It’s a turtle eat dog food world.

Next to the bank is Fay’s garden and a large tree. The turtles had begun to nest at its base. Fearing for the tree, she had a seawall installed along her side of the creek last year. They moved to the other side of the ditch, to an empty marsh-like lot, to nest. When she calls them for their meal, the larger ones try and climb the wall, reaching leathery necks up and over the side, hissing for her attention.

Pet of the Month
Searching for a lost snack.
Pet of the Month
Turtles aren’t the only animals being fed. Small snails gather around bits of waterlogged kibble.

The sight of the large reptiles crowding the creek has become something of a spectacle. Friends ask to bring by out-of-town guests to witness the nightly feeding. Fay is happy to oblige.

Pet of the Month
Fay rewards determination.
Pet of the Month
While not as well-manicured as Fay’s, the turtles’ nails get the job done.

While not the typical ‘pet’, the turtles are fed and cared about, if not technically cared for. For changing the pet game in Oriental, TownDock.net names Fay Bond’s bale of turtles, Pet of the Month.

Pet of the Month
Fay feeding the turtles.

Celebrity most resembles: Danny DeVito

Likes: Fay Bond, Family Style Dining
Dislikes: Seawalls, Mock Turtlenecks
Utopian Vision: Watermelon Sunday is every Sunday
Political Ambitions: Promote the locavore movement
Favorite Song: Happy Together

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Know a pet that is a standout? Send in some details and a photo to info@towndock.net. Tell why that pet deserves the coveted TownDock.net Pet of the Month Prize Package --- accolades, a pat on the head (snakes excluded) and a box of Milk Bones ( or snack suitable for the species).

We regret that we cannot offer a college scholarship to Pet Of The Month winners.

Animals caught near the HarborCam attempting to suck up to the judges will be disqualified.