Frankie Tortoise Tales Frankie Tortoise Tails sulcata care tortoise sulcata husbandry Frankie Tortoise Tails Frankie Tortoise Tails: First hot day in Alabam



May 1, 2005

First hot day in Alabam

The Turtle Times forum seems to be out-of-whack so the best I can do under these circumstances is to start a BLOG and muse myself about my turtles. This is not a problem as I take great pleasure in thinking about my turtles.

The first turtle to come about was Mama Turtle, a rescue off NE 63rd street in Oklahoma City. Her territory was being torn down for several human houses putting her out of a home. I can estimate this time to be about 1995 as I have a picture I took of her sometime soon after that. She moved to our house in Spencer, Oklahoma where the entire yard was fenced from the front to the back.

Since her, there have been other rescued turtles to come and go but she remained with me as she could not be returned to her old home. Another turtle unable to return to a old home due to habitat destruction is Brown Eyes. Brown Eyes was half the size of Mama Turtle so I guessed her a juvenile.  In just a few short years, Brown Eyes has reached sexual maturity and weighs the same as Mama Turtle.

The monster of the bunch is Big Turtle. Too large to dig and unable to cover herself, she cannot hibernate.  This three toe turtle was dying of a respiratory infection when we found her in November wondering near a church looking for shelter (not in the church but somewhere around the church).

Big Turtle fully recovered within a month but has never since attempted to hibernate. I have always had to provide her with additional shelter as she is too large to dig her own shelter. Russ Gurley has told me that she is the largest three-toe turtle that he has ever seen. Big Turtle, Brown Eyes and Mama Turtle are my permanent residence.

When we moved to Alabama, I reluctantly brought a third box turtle, Bama, who was rescued after being run flat by a car on NE 63rd street in Oklahoma City. Pronounced as un-recoverable by our Oklahoma veterinarian, my skills as a turtle nurse were good enough to pull this young boy through a six month recovery period.

By the time we left Oklahoma, Bama was just learning how to walk again (he suffered a lot of neurological damage). I had planned to only bring females so that I would have no turtle offspring in a foreign area.  I didn't know if Bama would eventually recover enough to become a daddy. That looked like an ornate/three toe hybrid so it did not thrill me either.

That Brown Eyes is currently looking for somewhere to lay eggs means that Bama has recovered and come into sexual maturity.  This leaves me with the dilemma of what to do with coming the eggs. Right now I am just hoping that Brown Eye gets the eggs laid safely.There have been other turtles who were adopted out when we moved here to Alabama. I hated giving any of them up.  It is best just not to breed turtles at all.

Frankie is my spur thigh sulcata tortoise. He is my joy. I thought for many years about getting a spur thigh sulcata and about what that meant. The commitment was serious, I knew.Sulcata get HUGE.

When we looked for houses in Alabama, the backyard size was a top 5 concern (price, gecko room possibilities, location, kitchen were others). I don't have children so didn't have to worry about finding a good schools and a nice place to raise children - just needed a good turtle location and were there any no exotic animal laws.

Our yard is fantastic -- we just don't have a completed fence yet.  Frankie has already, in two years, out grown three smaller fences. I keep pushing Greg (husband) to get the large privacy fence build, already!

Mattie is a small spiney tortoise. She is Greg's baby. She has free roam of the house on colder days plus a great turtle area set up for her in the living room with lights, shelter, water and food. Greg insists that she free roam and luckily she prefers to stay in the living room. On good days (lots of them in Alabama) she goes outside in a nice pen to roam around, eat fresh flowing grasses and enjoy the sunshine. Greg can never find her outside because she hides so well. I find her everytime.

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