Frankie Tortoise Tales Frankie Tortoise Tails sulcata care tortoise sulcata husbandry Frankie Tortoise Tails Frankie Tortoise Tails: July 2005



July 24, 2005

95ºF temperatures

Third day of 95º F temperatures for Birmingham. We've had electric blackouts steadily each day, usually beginning at 2:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. each day -- peak electric use. Luckily we have a generator which keeps the gecko room AC, refrigerator, computer and TV working. Although the blackouts are usually less than ten minutes, the constancy of them is havoc on everything in the house.

Turtles did okay the first two days but it became obvious that the heat was a bit much -- they were hiding out continually. Frankie did not emerge from his house and Mattie did an quick turn around today when I put her out. I decided that it was time to bring them all inside for a break.

Frankie got a snack when he got inside of broccoli. He took an hour to settle down which ended up being on the couch with me. The four box turtles got a fresh bath of water (& fresh water to drink) and are settling down in a nice box. Mattie is running around in the living room. I'll put them all back outside this evening.

Zed, the baby sulcata is doing the same. No improvement. Regretfully, I must consider the possibility of euthanasia. I will do much thought/meditation/prayer on this before a decision is made. Zed is not the first to pass through this process.

I have a few animals whom depend on me for their survival. Bama the box turtle graduated to self-sustained living but for almost a year he was totally dependant on me for sustance while he recovered from being squashed by a car. I have a tokay who cannot feed herself that has lived three years being hand fed and watered by me. Her quality of life is such that it is worth my time. Making such a decision is never easy and I would prefer that the decision be taken from my hands.

July 21, 2005

Da Dump

Frankie pooped in his house. Sounds like un-important stuff but up to this point he was being very, very good and doing all his business outside of his house. I was beginning to think that Frankie had a sense of his surroundings and would not defecate in his sleeping quarters. He proved me wrong and laid out a whole mess of 'crap' inside his house. I am happy that the design of the house is such that clean-ups are easy. I just open the two front doors and sweep the whole mess outside, and then added fresh straw.

July 14, 2005

Frankie Plays in the rain

At 4:00 p.m. today we had a torrential downpour of rain, flash flood warnings et. al. Of course, I ran outside to bring in the box turtles, the spider turtle and make sure Frankie was in his house. Instead of heading into his house, Frankie chooses to stay outside and play in the rain. He wasn't sitting there helpless nor was he in a stupor; he was just playing in a puddle of water. He was digging, drinking and walking back and forth through the puddle. Never seen anything like it.

I was drenched and shivering before I got everyone inside. I watched Frankie from the window -- his was still playing -- so before I got out of my wet clothes, I grabbed the camera and took photos.

It may be hard to appreciate the photo as it doesn't show the rain much, just take my word for it -- the rain was coming down! Frankie looks like he is swimming! And, he was having fun!

July 12, 2005

Turtles out and about

The sun is out and Frankie is out and about his enclosure. I would say that from his attitude, quick step and bright eyes that he is happy to see the sun. Every time I approached his area he came running to see if I had a treat. I gave him a corn on the cob (his very favorite), some scrap red and green bell peppers and cuttle bone. All were devoured.

Mattie got to go outside in Frankie's enclosure too. She immediately started eating cloves and dandelion leaves. No slowing her down on her walk around the pen. It started to rain briefly and she complained greatly when I brought her inside. The rain ceased after fifteen minutes so I bought her back outside for the rest of the day. At days end, when I usually find her already snuggled down to sleep, I found her still walking around. Even she was happy to get outside after so many days inside.

The four box turtles got to get into their pen. I pulled all the hay away from the ground revealing lots of bugs for them to eat -- which they did.

I also brought the ornate turtle outside with them for the first time. The little ornate was more preoccupied with finding a way out of the pen than eating all the bugs. It didn't take long for him to find that he could squeeze through one of the wire fences. His memory is excellent as every time I brought him back inside, he made a beeline back to that area of the fence and then found the same fence on the outside perimeter to escape through. This means that some changes must be made to the box turtle's enclosure before the ornate can be left alone inside.

July 11, 2005

Come and Gone

I slept through the worst of Hurricane Dennis which means that it wasn't so bad for us in our location. Having survived twenty years in tornado alley (Oklahoma), this wasn't difficult. For box turtles, I guess their best defense is to bury themselves but what about the floods?

All turtles except Frankie did fine inside. I was very anxious for Frankie, worrying that his enclosure would not keep the rain out, but this morning he was dry. I am thinking of getting his pig blanket outside into his enclosure just to give him a warm up -- its about 73º but there has been no sun for a couple of days and we are not expecting sun for a few more.

July 10, 2005

Bracing for Hurricane Dennis

We are preparing for the start of Hurricane Dennis which begins to hit in our area at 5:00 p.m. today (just a few hours away). There were lots of items in the turtles outdoor area that had to be stored: hideaways, drinking bowls, leans, plastic tops (for eating off), etc., so that they would not blow away.

The box turtles have been inside since Saturday night. I fed and watered them this morning. The ornate turtle was already inside in his quarantine area. Frankie, the sulcata, was another worry. Last time he was inside he tore up the gecko room, pushing over gecko enclosures and knocking down stuff. He is just too big to be inside. The garage is really full with our outdoor furniture, etc. The kitchen is loaded down with all our plants. So, Frankie is left outside in his enclosure.

I've check over the last few weeks and Frankie's house has not gotten any water inside during rain. However, hurricane rain tends to come in horizontally, not from above. I've put a plastic top in front of his opening and set a large cement block in front of it to keep rain out. Hopefully, that will help. His top is locked down to prevent the winds from blowing it up -- we are expecting 75+ mph winds. If things get really bad, we will bring him in, put him in a large cardboard box and keep him in the dark to keep him quiet.

The short of it all is we survived Hurricane Ivan last year with only a wet garage. Hurricane Dennis is supposed to be just a bit more. We have a generator, gas ($3.29 a gallon, thanks Bush), ice, water and a few rented movies. If we can keep the cat quiet, all should go well.

July 7, 2005

Frankie's House

Frankie has been using his new house for three weeks (more, less). He is very attached to it, having no problems understanding at all that it is his shelter. During the middle of the day, when it is very hot, he takes shelter inside of it. It rained very hard yesterday (the last bits of another hurricane) and the shelter proves to keep him dry. My concern is this: is he spending too much time in it? There was sunshine part of the day today, as the clouds moved away, but Frankie did not come out. I am going to monitor his time inside his house closer.