You could hear the squawking parakeets the minute your entered Woolworth's store. The hamsters and white mice running on their wheels, the large tanks full of goldfish and guppies.
|Looking southwest from the corner of Devon and Western Avenues, Chicago. The F. W. Woolworths had entrances on Devon and on Western. The Western Avenue entrance was in the Pet Department. Circa 1950s.|
The small green turtles, young "Red-Eared Sliders" with pretty markings, didn't often live very long, no matter how careful you were caring for them... which I’m afraid was the fate of most of the turtles that kids carried home from Woolworth’s.
Because the turtles could go without food for a few days and could retract into their shells to protect themselves, someone got the bright idea that they could be shipped through the U.S. mail as premiums. The High Turtle Food Company sent these turtles through the U.S. Mail after painting the back of their shell with “Good Luck” and advertising their turtle food for 10¢. Buying any pet generally initiates a series of expenditures that soon outstrip the initial cost of that pet.
|Live Turtle Box.|
While Woolworth’s pet departments survived until the entire chain closed in 1997, little green turtles ceased being part of the stock in 1975 when the Food and Drug Administration banned pet stores from selling turtles smaller than four inches in length because children picked up salmonella from playing with their pets and failing to wash their hands.
Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.
My best friend and I weeded a garden and her mom paid us when we were about six. We had enough to buy a hot fudge sundae each at the counter and pooled the remainder to buy a turtle which we would share. One week at her house, one at mine. Mom made me keep it in the garage and whoops. He died. Poor guy.ReplyDelete
Never had a pet turtle. I did have a baby chick at Easter. Don't know what happened to it as I was very young. I hope this practice has been banned. Many people don't know how to properly care for these young animals.ReplyDelete
That was a fun little stroll to downtown nostalgia.ReplyDelete
I had several of these turtles when I was a kid. Their shell got soft and they usually died within a week.ReplyDelete
I got a few at the circus. You could get your name painted on their shell.ReplyDelete
I remember them being painted at county fairs and suchReplyDelete
My sisters and I did have a few of these pet turtles, we got them from Woolworth’s.ReplyDelete
The dime store was my favorite place it was the only place to fish that I always had us a few parakeets and yes turtles too. They still sell them though the mailReplyDelete