Frankie Tortoise Tales Frankie Tortoise Tails sulcata care tortoise sulcata husbandry Frankie Tortoise Tails Frankie Tortoise Tails: February 2006



February 20, 2006

Hot or Not

Frankie is resisting my attempts to bring him to the higher end of his optimal temperature range -- which Dr. Atlas says is about 95. To get that much heat requires lots of effort and energy! In my attempts to get that hot temperature I am using two basking lights, two thermal pads, lots on insulation, and a server (computer sits next to Frankie's box and it put out lots of heat), I am just eeking up to that top temperature and Frankie decides its too hot for him (really I haven't even got the heat to 93) and he leaves the basking area, goes into the gecko room and sits on the cold cement -- I have taken to moving his basking lights every time he does this. He also goes into his box after I have taken out the heat pads (so he can bask under the lights). To combat this, I am aiming his basking light into the box (he is never alone when the light is positioned just so as I do not want to burn down the house). Still he leaves the warmth and wanders into the gecko room to find a nice cool area to sit.

Long before Frankie came into my life, a good turtle friend of mine told me that when I finally did get a sulcata that I would want to avoid having it come down with a cold, that they were difficult to get rid of. Its all very true, and Frankie is only in the beginning stages of a cold. I can't imagine if he had a respiratory infection and required shots too.

February 15, 2006

Dr Atlas & Frankie

The consequences of Frankie's confinement while I was out of town has shown its ugly head...or should I say eyes. His eyes were so terribly watery yesterday, as if he were crying, I made an appointment to see Dr. Atlas.

Dr. Atlas and I had other things to talk about, mainly six leopard geckos that I am fostering from Hurricane Katrina, but I took the opportunity to get Frankie taken care of quickly.

I put down the back seat of our pick-up, put down a bed liner, brought Frankie out along with a Frankie-accident towel, loaded the little-red-wagon and set off for a twenty minute ride to Riverview Animal Clinic (also on 280 past PetSmart). Frankie must not have been feeling all that great as he settled down quickly in the back seat rather than wander around.

Dr. Atlas agreed that I had caught the "cold" early before it advanced into a respiratory infection -- a rather difficult trial for big sulcata to overcome. Frankie got Terramycin for his eyes and directions to up his temperature during his sleep. (And, Frankie weighed in at 34.2 pounds)

Greg put both of the pig blankets on the bottom of Frankie's box, added insulation foam around the sides, slid a piece of plastic insulation below the box and put Frankie in for the night.

When I went down this morning, Frankie wide awake waiting at the box front, ready for his breakfast. It is a wonder what eight hours sleep in the upper range of a Sulcata's optimal temperature range will do for a turtle. He is already gone for a walk around the gecko room and is just now coming back inside the office to finish his breakfast.

February 11, 2006

Frankie Visits Petsmart

I finally got home at the end of January! I did miss my husband most of all, but I really missed Frankie and the other turtles (I did miss the geckos but certainly not like I missed my turtles, but I did worry if they were okay. Greg did a great job).

Poor Frankie hadn't gotten to go outside the whole time I was gone. The first week back I was only able to get him out just a little while because the temperature and the sun were never both high enough or out enough for Frankie to be comfortable outside. Only one thing left to do -- take him to my local PetSmart for a walk.

Now, my local PetSmart (on state highway 280 in Inverness, a Birmingham suburb), where I get cat food and litter, and some of my reptile supplies (never live animals), Frankie has visited once before. I first went in and asked permission first, Frankie being a very large turtle, in case they would not think it okay. Well, Frankie was more than welcome. Everyone, employees and customers alike, took out cell phones and took photos to send to their friends. Frankie did pretty good, although he tried to walk under the shelves several times.

This trip I believe Frankie knew where he was! He knew that he could walk down each isle and up to the front and back to the rear of the store. He was very good and never try to chew on anything, but I had brought some dandelions just in case -- he was much more interested in walking around. Mary, one of the employees, was especially happy to see Frankie again. Her husband stopped by while he was there and related that Mary had told him about Frankie's first visit to the store.

We were there about thirty minutes, scaring little dogs (oh, yes, there was a little dog that nearly peed at the site of Frankie) and thrilling kids, before we left. When Frankie got home he was ready to go to bed for the day. Great exercise and nice to get out!

February 2, 2006

Everyone in the Sun

Frankie is doing only a little better with his eyes but the good news is the temperature is in the 70's and Frankie is very happy to be outside basking and eating. Mattie the spider tortoise is also outside and she is spending her time basking...I have seen very little eating.

The box turtles are getting to bask, but they are basking under Frankie's basking lights indoors. They are enjoying it completely. They act as if they have not had warmth in months (which they haven't really had enough). The turtles are spending so much time under the basking lights that I continually go over and touch their shells to make sure they are not hot to the touch. Apparently they just want to really soak in the heat.