A local show of affection for turtles and tortoises


By Gina McGalliard

Del Mar resident Linda Addison bought her first turtle at a pet store. When it became ill, she turned to the San Diego Turtle & Tortoise Society and learned to care for turtles properly.

Now, 15 years later, she is the proud owner of approximately 30 box turtles and eight desert tortoises, which are endangered.

Addison will be at the San Diego Turtle & Tortoise Society’s annual show at Balboa Park on July 19 and 20.

The non-profit rescue organization often calls on Addison to take in turtles when they’ve been abandoned or their owners are moving.

“I like [turtles and tortoises] because they’re prehistoric and different – and kids like them,” said Addison, who has two separate enclosures in her yard for her box turtles and desert tortoises.

The Turtle & Tortoise Show will feature many local turtles and tortoises. Veterinarians will answer questions about how to care for the animals. A large turtle known as “Miss Piggy,” who is a real fan favorite, will also be there.

Because the event is also a fund-raiser for the Society, baked goods, plants, T-shirts and other turtle-related items will be for sale. Attendees will not be able to purchase the animals, but they may inquire about adoption.

According to Ginny Stigen, president of the San Diego Turtle & Tortoise Society, turtles have appeal as pets because of their intelligence and ability to interact with people. She said some of the turtles she has owned have opened her sliding glass door with their heads and walked in the house in search of cool spot.

“They’re just a lot of fun to own,” Stigen said. “If anybody has ever considered owning a tortoise, they should come down and see how to do it.”

Admission to the show, which is being held in the Casa del Prado’s Room 101, is free. More information: (760) 738-8865,