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From a drughouse to a showhouse – the life of Violet the turtle

Anyone visiting the Floral Showhouse in Niagara Falls, Ont., needs to take the time to meet Violet the softshell turtle. She's got quite the story to tell. (Or she would, if she could talk. And if she could, that would really be a story.)

Violet was seized in a drug raid four or five years ago, and was donated to the showhouse on Niagara Parkway, said Jessica Bond, the facility's manager of design. Initially, staff feared that Violet would act aggressively toward the 13 other turtles in the collection, so she was given her own, smaller enclosure.

Fast-forward to this year, when staff brought in an expert from the SPCA who said it probably would be OK to introduce Violet to the other turtles.

That happened a month or so ago, and Violet has not bothered the fish or the half-dozen remaining turtles she lives with now, Bond said. She enjoys exploring the space, swimming and sunning herself on the rocks. She eats pellets of turtle food and hibiscus flowers as a treat.

"There's been no problems," Bond said.

One recent visitor thought Violet had found a boyfriend, but Bond said that's not the case. Maybe she still needs to, ahem, come out of her shell.

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