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August 23, 2007

Cha cha hot

Today we are expecting 104ºF temperatures – our hottest yet. I have already filled Frankie's pool with fresh cool water and placed it in the shade. Box turtles are inside. Ice maker is full. Need to make ice tea. Window curtains all closed.

I think around 3:00 pm, as it gets to its hottest, I will bring Frankie downstairs into the basement. It’s the coolest place in the house (mostly because I refuse to run the AC all day just for me). Frankie, the geckos and I will be cool until the AC comes on at 4:45 pm. That time will give Frankie a chance to lower his body temperature so he will feel more comfortable the rest of the evening.

After today, and into next week, temperatures are expected to drop and rain is finally expected to start showing up.

I bought an old glass pie dish from a thrift store to use as the box turtle's water dish. It works great. They can get in and out by themselves. It is smaller than I want but I needed them to have something to get in without help. I will still soak them every other day in a larger container.

August 14, 2007

Sulcata sexual development

There are certain subjects I wonder if I should put in my blog but then I think that if I didn't someone who regularly read it to see about sulcata behaviors would miss out on something that really should be eventually be expected. This would be one of those times. It’s about developing sulcata sexual behavior.

Frankie just turned 7 years old. This week, he found a girlfriend -- a Tupper bowl about five inches high. Just high enough for him to "mount" and practice his sexual savvy. He gets this hard plastic bowl cornered so it can't slip away from under him, he climbs his front over it, and proceeds to repeatedly push his rear end at it, i.e. in general terms, humping. He grunts very loudly at each hump. He practiced without distraction for about 20 minutes.

This is perfectly normal animal behavior. As far as I know, his first real girlfriend as I have not seen the behavior before, at least not successfully.

Why might this be important to know about when considering a sulcata? Several reasons; if he was practicing this behavior against any unsupported item (chair, unsupported fence, lightweight shelf), that item would go crashing to the ground. I've heard of large sulcata moving lawn furniture around yards -- this may be why it is done. Second reason: visitors, especially conservative or very young people may find this behavior a little shocking . A keeper must be prepared to explain such behavior. Frankie didn't seem eager to give up the behavior.

August 12, 2007

Shell seen better days

Frankie is really rough on his shell. In diggin’ beneath the AC unit and support bricks, he really scratched his front shell. I did my best to buff this out and it does look better. But he has other dinks and small gouges that are permanent. I just wonder, what is within the normal for most sulcata? Do they get this much shell damage? I wonder?

He is doing well in the hot weather. I am home all day so I can get outside often and water him down to cool him off. His pool is under the porch and it is shaded so it keeps cool. He does get in and out to stay cool. All in all, he is doing well outside.

I brought the box turtles inside just because it is too hot to try to find them daily to be sure that they have gotten access to the water. A few weeks indoors isn't go to be harmful. They get fed and watered regularly so it is beneficial for them.

As for me, I just try to stay out of direct sunlight.

August 6, 2007

Hot dog day of summer

Frankie is on hot day survival mode. He is up very early in the morning. Does his walk around his yard about three times, heads to the middle for grazing and by the time he finishes, it is very hot and he heads under the porch for some cool dirt. He stays under until well into the evening when he will get out again, walk and eat until very late at night. I go out after dark and he will be under the porch, awake, watching the night come in. This is not his winter, spring or fall pattern. Usually he is in his house asleep by 6:00 pm. The last few nights he hasn't wanted to sleep inside his house. I have been conflicted about this but gave in because of the heat.

During the heat of the day, I go out and water him down with a cool sprinkle from the hose. This cools him down and provides the soil with some nice damp areas for him to sit on.

Overall, we are surviving the 98º F heat.

August 1, 2007

Birthday tort out of the dog house

Well, today is Frankie's birthday so we had to take him out of "time out" and celebrate his turning 7 years old.

A neighborhood young lady who is a great friend of Frankie came over this afternoon and helped me prepare a turtle cake. So, what does a turtle cake comprise of? Mashed potatoes (no butter or spices, please) peas, corn and green beans from frozen, carrots for legs and tomato for head. Here is our finished masterpiece:

At this "party" he also received a bag of carrots and four corn on the cobs, all his favorite foods (not to be eaten all at once - these will be served all week long). Frankie loved his cake and had no problem eating everything.

It was a nice Frankie day.