Baby Alligator Turtle found my pond :-(

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by CountryEscape, Sep 14, 2011.

  1. CountryEscape

    Catfishnut

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    CountryEscape,

    Really enjoyed your post about the snappers! I would like to inform you about a few turtle trivia tidbits that I know about.

    1] They are very instinctive and if removed from their home, can find their way back just as well as a homing pigeon.

    I have seen this happen (sort of). I caught some larger snappers that were 24 inches to 30 inches in size from a lake near my childhood home. Put them in an old bathtub in the back yard and they escaped. They both made a bee-line right back to the same lake (which was on the opposite side of town and more than three miles away). We found them enroute, so I don't know if they would have truly returned to the same exact spot or not, but why would they bother to travel in the proper direction, through town on city streets, if they weren't led by some force to go that specific direction. I mean, there were other bodies of water much closer in several other directions.

    2] The Mama turtle lays a clutch of eggs in an excavated site near her water hole and when they hatch, they head for the safety of the pond or lake immediately.

    Hence, just like the sea turtles that you see on the Nat Geo programs, it is extremely possible that a mother turtle laid a clutch of eggs in your bog and they are making their way into the safest area of the deep water of your sump pit. The odds of you finding more baby turtles in the sump pit are good. Although, I am not sure that I can force myself to believe that you found the same exact baby turtle three times over in the same exact place or that all the other hatchlings are heading there. You may have found three different turtles there or you may have found the same one three times. My logic tells me that the odds favor that there are more hatchlings and they are all instinctively finding their way to the sump pit.

    3] Baby snappers really like a diet of garden worms, nightcrawlers and crickets and other small insects.

    As a kid, I caught many baby snappers about this size from a series of ponds along a drainage ditch. I put them in my indoor habitats and kept many of them for quite a long time before releasing them. I fed them small cuts of raw steak, small garden worms and cut up nightcrawlers mostly. They really loved the worms. They also liked small pieces of hot-dogs, but I didn't like feeding them that too much as that would foul the water of their pond. The mechanical grinding of the meat and fat to mfg. hotdogs would allow the oils from the now loose fats to release into the water too easily if they didn't eat them right away.

    4] Snappers do not prefer to climb totally out of the water (like you see other turtles like red-eared sliders and painted turtles do to bask in the sunlight).

    Snappers like to remain in the water and crawl up a shallow, sandy slope to access shallow water so they can snorkle and poke their heads up to see what is at "periscope" depth while still keeping their shells partially submersed, but won't normally climb up on a floating log or onto an exposed rock. They really do not like to be in an aquarium that is filled to capacity with water and with straight, vertical sides. Although they do like the deep water access, they do not prefer it for their entire habitat. They need shallow, underwater shelves and beaches and banks to climb up on, rather than swimming. I guess I would describe them as an aquatic "turkey". Turkeys can fly, but rarely do if they can get from place to place by simply walking. Snappers can swim, but rarely do if they can simply just crawl to their destination, the same as turkeys walking. Snappers are simply not very efficient swimmers.

    5] Alligator snapping turtles (as opposed to a common snapping turtle) have a small attachment to the end of their tongues that looks like a small, red or pink worm. They sit on the bottom of the pond with their mouth agape and wiggle this special appendage. When a fish comes along, sees it or detects it, and goes to eat it, the snapper closes his mouth on his meal of fish in a split second!

    6] Snapping turtles do exit the water and travel (migrate) over dry land for many, many miles.

    I have never read why they do this, but I suspect that they do so for several reasons, possibly. I surmise these reasons: a] For mating purposes. b] If their pond has become underproductive (not enough food) or c] If their pond has dried up. Or, maybe for other reasons?

    7] When snapping turtles are full grown and large enough to harvest, they are VERY, VERY good to eat! OHHHHHHHHH! That's GOOD! :)

    I have prepared turtle many times in the past and, although they are difficult to clean, they are easy to cook and they are extremely tasty! The recipe is simple (this is not a soup recipe). Cut the meat up just about like chicken, soak in saltwater for about a half day to one full day, rinse very well in cold water, roll the washed pieces in flour and salt and pepper. Sear the pieces in a skillet to brown well and then roll the individual pieces up in aluminum foil. Set the pieces in a broaster pan on top of an elevation rack. Pour water in the broaster pan for steaming and cover. Place broaster in the oven and cook at ~250° for about 6-8 hours or more. Keep checking the water level at the bottom of the broaster as to not run it dry. The low heat and the long cooking duration will make the meat extremely tender. The water in the broaster is not eactly for the purpose of steaming the meat, it is to keep the temperature in the broaster uniform all over and to prevent the natural juices of the meat from evaporarting away. It is the same theory as crock-pot cooking.

    The meat will be very tender and juicy and DELICIOUS! Give it a try sometime.

    Cleaning a turtle is not an easy or simple task and it requires quite a lot of time. I can tell you how, if you are interested, just ask.

    Also, I really recommend that you DO NOT make these turtles into soup. That is one heck of a waste! The meat from these turtles, cooked this way, is a total suprise and a delicacy! You make soup out of trash meat and scraps, this turtle meat is absolutely not anything to waste in a soup! If you want to impress someone with a meal, try this out. You will be so impressed that you won't want to offer it to others as you will want to eat it all yourself and wish you had more!


    Gordy
     
    Catfishnut, Nov 14, 2011
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  2. CountryEscape

    CountryEscape

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    Gordy, thanks for all the tidbits of info. I've seen snappers "on the move" many times, and I can say they are the reason I'm afraid to swim in most ponds or small lakes. I have this fear of stepping on one and getting a toe bit off, or worse! Just watched a show on I think discovery last night about a guy relocating snappers he had put in a pond that was going to be bulldozed. OMG, he went swimming and feeling around with his hands and bare toes looking for all something like 7 of them! They were 30-40# turtles, I think they said. Freaked me out! LOL
    Quoting Larkin (Fishin): The young whipper snapper is on his way! I shipped him this morning, packed in a small box, he is in a plastic zip loc bag with holes punched in it, surrounded by very moist paper towels. Then peanuts to make sure the baggie is not bouncing around in the small box. Then that small box is packed well in another larger box, also with holes punched in it. I sure hope he arrives safe and sound. Larkin will let us all know on Wed., which is the expected delivery date.
    Oh, and Gordy, the sump pump pit is inside my house, but I have no doubt that it's possible that the little guys were getting into my pond from the bog, or maybe simply my pond was the closest to wherever their mama hatched them! I have a farm pond, too, but it is across the pasture. Not very far for an adult turtle to wander, but seems far for these little guys. However, I had the little guy inside my house, in a bucket, but the cats dumped the bucket. Now whether they carried him downstairs, or whether he hiked it down the 13 steps and then to the pit, I have no idea. I suspect he could have easily done the moving all on his own. The steps are carpeted, so easy enough to maneuver.
    Oh, and I've always called them alligator snappers around here, but honestly do not know the difference between them and regular snappers. I guess I thought they were all alligator snappers. I just know that my brother caught one once, carried it home by the tail, and that sucker was doing it's best to snap a bite out of my brother leg! They sure can stretch out their necks. And, I saw exactly what you're talking about with the squiggly thing on their tongue. Was at a huge Aquarium once on vacation, and there was a snapper in that very position, mouth open, tongue wiggling, and that sucker did not move a muscle except for his tongue. Watched him for probably 15 minutes, too! Very neat to see. Even have a picture of it. :)
     
    CountryEscape, Nov 15, 2011
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  3. CountryEscape

    Catfishnut

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    CountryEscape,

    Hi again. OK. I just misunderstood. I thought the sump pump pit was a part of your outdoor pond. Do you mean to say that you found this (a turtle) in the indoor sump three times? That's actually pretty wild! But, now it is not at all that difficult for me to fathom consifering what I know about these turtles. He did keep going back to his safety zone, which is in line with what I was thinking. I just don't understand how he got there in the first place.

    Or, did I misunderstand your time line of events? I thought you found him in the sump trap of the pond, released him to a nearby pond, then found him in your pond's sump pit once again and then the cats dumped him out and you found him in the indoor sump pit.

    I guess that it doesn't really matter, but your story is a very cool story never-the-less. I just like turtles and all of God's critters. Animals of all kinds! I am not of the tree hugger variety, but I am very passionate about nature.

    I don't usually keep them contained if I do catch one, well not for very long anyhow. Just long enough to study them a bit and then they go back to where they belong... in the "WILD".

    I have a deep and special respect for the outdoors. I find my solace there and I ponder many subjects when I am alone in nature. I often attempt to write poetry to endear others as to what I see and feel in my heart when I am alone outdoors, but most of the time I just enjoy what I see and feel and converse with God (in my own way).

    It may sound odd to some, but I enjoy sitting out by the river and watching all of God's creations and meditating about religion and creation and even God himself. I rarely get a response from God when I am asking for answers, but on occasion I have felt that his presence was near and I do get an epiphany.

    EPIPHANY: "A sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience."

    Such experiences are welcome, important and highly prized. I believe that I experience more of them than others do because I know how to identify them. Many people just pass these experiences over and don't stop to ponder what they have witnessed or were presented with.

    Like watching a fallen leaf from a tree as it floats downstream in the current of the river and swirls this way and that. Different shaped leaves float and sail in the river current in their own unique way. Have you ever watched them, individually? Have you ever sat on a river bank in the fall and observed the fall leaves with colors of brown and gold and bright yellow or orange and red and contemplated about their origin and their destination?


    Yep, I love nature in this way. Very much.

    Gordy
     
    Catfishnut, Nov 15, 2011
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  4. CountryEscape

    CountryEscape

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    Whoa, hold on, Gordy. Haha, the baby was found in my outdoor skimmer on my koi pond. I originally found him there, relocated him to my farm pond on the other side of my 6 acres, and the next day or 2 days later, there was one in the skimmer again. That's when Larkin said he would like it, so I put it in a bucket, brought him into the house that morning. That evening when I got home from work, the bucket was tipped over, and the turtle was gone. Then, yesterday, 45 days later, I found him in my basement, in the sump pump pit. Does that help with the time line and location questions? :)

    I am like you, I love all of God's creatures, but I'm ok to walk in the woods and I do not fret over stepping on the plants. I love all there is to know about nature. :) I've not sat and watched leaves on the river, but as a child, I could sit and stare into a ditch in someone's yard after a rain, and see the tiny little insects which I now know some were mosquito larvae, and I would catch them and put them in a jar to view better. I still love to sit and watch the fish in my pond, getting to know each and every one of them, by color and their personalities. What you describe as epiphany is wonderful. Lucky you! Ah ... to have time to sit and ponder. Someday I hope to have just that time.

    Have you ever been underwater in the ocean, able to sit on the bottom and just watch? Of course, you will want an air tank to do this, but it's my most favorite place to be. So much is happening all around you. I could go on and on about the creatures and plants in the ocean in just maybe 10-15' of water. Wonderful place to sit and ponder. :) Someday soon I will go to the ocean and do just that again.
     
    CountryEscape, Nov 15, 2011
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  5. CountryEscape

    fishin4cars True friends just call me Larkin Moderator

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    snorkle and a face mask work great in the Koipond! I did that the first year i built the bigger pond and have thought several times about converting the pool to a pond I could swim with the fish. We are planning on setting up a small animal educational center in the area i live to do school shows, seminars and just educating the public on what need certain pets need. I'm more into the reptile and fish end, the wife wants more of the furry critters to work with.
     
    fishin4cars, Nov 15, 2011
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  6. CountryEscape

    CountryEscape

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    Yep, I did go swimming in my pond with my mask and snorkle this summer! It was fantastic! I could see the rocks that got knocked to the bottom, then swim down and retrieve them, instead of feeling with my hands. Was so much fun as the fish thought it was great fun to nibble on my legs and arms. And, that being said, it has always amazed me how the fish come near, rather than swim away, when I would reach in to trim leaves and stems off of my lily plants. They have nothing to fear of me, I guess. And, there was a frog in my bog last weekend, it was pretty warm again, in the 60's, and he just sat there while I cleaned out the string algae. In fact, I didn't see him at first, and I was maybe 6" from him with my arm. They all figure out we are not there to harm, but rather to enjoy. I guess that's why the herons find them easy prey!
     
    CountryEscape, Nov 15, 2011
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  7. CountryEscape

    Catfishnut

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    CountryEscape,

    Haha! OK, I got the entire story now. You will have to excuse me for coming into the conversation LATE in the game. I didn't get the timeline of events organized in my mind properly. But, I have the full jist now.

    As for a walk in the woods, I am not too critical about my footsteps. There are places in nature that require you to be that critical, but not in our backyards or most of our hiking areas. If you were to be that critical, no one could enjoy nature at all. After all, WE are just as much a part of nature as every other creature on earth and our "footprints" may be just as important to future archeaologists as the footprints of a T-Rex!

    I am glad that you liked my "epiphany" description. You know, it doesn't require you to sit outside, all alone, for days on end waiting for a special message to reach you. A few minutes at the proper time when you are in the mood is all that is required.

    Let me put it in a simple, albeit trite metaphor... "You got to stop and smell the roses"! :) That's all there is to it.

    When you can steal away on the time, just enjoy it and take full advantage of it. Even a slight moment is worth the experience to stop the rat race long enough to enjoy and ponder nature!

    As for being underwater in the OCEAN... I have never dived or snorkled. Unless you consider being thrown from a waverunner for a few minutes and having to upright myself and regain my bearings! LOL My gal Sue and I did spend some time on a... lets call it a deserted island pad (about 50 square feet of sand with one tree out in the Gulf of Mexico off the west coast of Florida). Kinda like a cartoon island.

    I kinda had this vision of scuba diving in the area and hiding a clam shell with a promisory (engagement) ring in it near there and letting her find it on one of our vacations there. That just didn't work out then, but maybe some time in the future it still may. I though it would be a quaint idea.

    I went to visit a buddy of mine from HS out in CA. We went to a bend in a local river that was about 18 feet deep and we could snorkle there and watch the fish pass right in front of our faces and eyeball us. That was pretty awesome.

    Another time, my gal and I snorkled and swam with the manatees in the Crystal River (Crystal Springs?) north of Tampa, FLA. I can never remember the name of the town. Her brother lived there for several years and we went there to visit him. It was a couple hours drive north of Tampa as I recall. Duneiden Beach is near the town where her brother lived. I thought that this area of Florida was very nice and I would love to go back there again. I recall going out to eat at a place called "Crabby Bills" almost right on the beach. That was great!

    Sorry for reminiscing, that was just a very good time for me! It's just wonderful to be able to chat with folks like you (who enjoy the wonders of nature just as I do). Thanks for your converstion so far (and for times to come!)

    Gordy
     
    Catfishnut, Nov 15, 2011
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  8. CountryEscape

    CountryEscape

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    Gordy, I've been to Crystal River, swam/snorkeled with the manatees, and it was unbelievable time! There was a "baby" that was bigger than me, that kept following me, so I would stop, and he/she would roll over and want me to scratch his/her belly. Soooo cute!! Mama was taking a siesta on the bottom. LOL I guess it was baby's time to play with the humans. It kept bumping into us, and swimming in front (like we didn't notice him/her?!) and then roll over again. They are like huge water dogs, wanting you to touch them. You're not allowed to "pursue" them, but if they come up to you it's up to you to play with him or her and see how long it will hang around. This one just did not want to leave, so I guess my fingernails were to her liking. :) Even saw one nursing on Mama manatee. They are so ugly they are cute!
    If you are ever in the ocean, and can find a dive shop that has the helmets that you can dive down and have that helmet on instead of a tank and mask, you should do it! There is nothing better in this world than sitting and watching the underwater nature unfold in front of you. The longer you stay, the more you will see and observe. Doesn't have to be deep. And, after you've experienced it in the daytime, take a flashlight and go out at night! Shake your arm and see the ocean "light up" with tiny plankton that literally light up when they are irritates, making it look like teeny tiny flashlights all over! Oh, I could go on and on ... can you tell I'm itching to go on a dive trip? Haven't dove now for almost 3 years and dearly miss it.
     
    CountryEscape, Nov 15, 2011
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  9. CountryEscape

    Catfishnut

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    CountryEscape,

    Oh yes, I can identify with you wanting to go back on a dive! I would love to do that myself. I think you know how much I enjoy nature in that way already. Diving is something that I don't do often, never did so with a diving helmet anyway. Mostly just snorkling, that's ok, but I know it doesn't grant the whole effect. I attached something for you below. Enjoy.

    Gordy

     
    Catfishnut, Nov 15, 2011
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  10. CountryEscape

    taherrmann4 Tmann

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    I was wandering if this was the same turtle that was in your house. Dang that little guy must have had quite a journey and was smart enough to find the sump pump. How far away was the sump from the bucket he was in?
     
    taherrmann4, Nov 16, 2011
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  11. CountryEscape

    fishin4cars True friends just call me Larkin Moderator

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    He just thought that was a long journey, now he's on a longer journey south, WAY south, Looks like it's in Hazelwood MO right now, should be in LA by morning.
     
    fishin4cars, Nov 16, 2011
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  12. CountryEscape

    taherrmann4 Tmann

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    So how do you ship something like this?
     
    taherrmann4, Nov 16, 2011
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  13. CountryEscape

    fishin4cars True friends just call me Larkin Moderator

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    [sub]Very carefully.... Actually I'm curious to see how CE sent it, holes in the box? should be interesting. She's suppose to have him secure, I'm betting he's not going to be a happy camper when arrives though.[/sub]
     
    fishin4cars, Nov 16, 2011
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  14. CountryEscape

    CountryEscape

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    Haha, Larkin he will be much happier when you get him out of those boxes! Todd, I put him in a zip loc bag (sandwich size) with several very wet paper towels to keep him moist, zipped the bag, but punched holes in it for air. Then put that in a small box (about 4" square) with peanuts to keep him more secure in his baggie home. Then that box in a larger box filled with peanuts to try to keep him from shifting around too much. The box is marked "FRAGILE" and "This Side Up" on all sides. LOL The PO loves me .... haha. I just hope he makes it alive, but I'd guess he has about a 98% chance of that.
    Considering he has lived somewhere in my house, probably most of the last 45 days in my sump pump pit in the basement, he is a fighter. He was VERY vigorous when I found him, much more active than 45 days ago for sure!
    Todd, where the bucket fell over was about 10' from the top of the basement steps, which are carpeted. I have no idea if he went down the steps, or if the cat carried him down. It's also possible the cat carried him somewhere else in the house. Then, at the bottom of the steps, it was probably another 25' to get to the sump pump pit.
    We will all be anxious to hear how he arrived tomorrow, Larkin! I'm crossing my fingers this was a good move, and he will arrive safely. :LOL:
     
    CountryEscape, Nov 16, 2011
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  15. CountryEscape

    j.w I Love my Goldies

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    I sure have enjoyed reading these inspirational posts and nice video of Mr Octopus. I hope the turtle makes it safely today to Larkins :)
     
    j.w, Nov 16, 2011
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  16. CountryEscape

    CountryEscape

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    Yikes, I sure hoped to see that the baby had arrived safe and sound, but have heard nothing, so now I'm really worried.... again. :-(
     
    CountryEscape, Nov 17, 2011
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  17. CountryEscape

    fishin4cars True friends just call me Larkin Moderator

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    Houdini made it safe and sound about 3pm this afternoon. He's settling in and found himself a spot he likes to sit for now. Seems to have made the trip with no issues except a trapped air bubble that is making it hard for him to swim to the bottom of the tank right now but it's gotten better as the afternoon has gone by. I've been having PC issues and it took a while to get a good connection to post he had made it. Hopefully I can get him to eat something later this evening or in the morning.
     
    fishin4cars, Nov 17, 2011
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  18. CountryEscape

    CountryEscape

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    I'm sooo thrilled! Keep in mind that he is from a climate where he should be hibernating soon, and if he's anything like the red slider turtle I used to have for 4 years in my house, come October, he absolutely positively quit eating. He would swim around, but not eat. Then, in about April, he would start eating again, like clockwork. So, don't fret if he doesn't eat anything, at least for a while. His body may have gone into hibernation. But, if you look at his underside, you will see he's quite the pudgey little fellow.
    Also, Larkin said he was smaller than he expected. He is a very small little Houdini. What was his mother thinking??? LOL Guess when the mood hit, she went for it, and didn't think about time of year for babies. Oh well, at least this little guy gets more sunshine and warm weather than he would have had here in IL. I'm glad about that! Good luck, and I hope he turns out to be a fun project for you.
     
    CountryEscape, Nov 17, 2011
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  19. CountryEscape

    sissy sissy

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    poor kitty going to loose his toy .
     
    sissy, Nov 17, 2011
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  20. CountryEscape

    CountryEscape

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    Haha, Sissy that kitty has plenty of other toys, like my Boston Terriers! He (Tarzan, the cat) loves to wrestle with the brindle, as they are the same age, grew up together, so I guess that's why Tarzan fetches like a dog, brings back his "toy" (which happens to be a piece of aquarium tubing LOL) when I throw it down the basement steps. :)
     
    CountryEscape, Nov 17, 2011
    #80
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