Frankie Tortoise Tales Frankie Tortoise Tails sulcata care tortoise sulcata husbandry Frankie Tortoise Tails Frankie Tortoise Tails: September 2008



September 29, 2008

More Photos

Okay, so I like to take Frankie places. I took him to get his photograph taken at Walgreen's. Walgreen's had a fund raising event for ASPCA. Get a photo for $5. Cheap. So we went.

Okay, so people fuss over Frankie. How unusual is a fifty pound tortoise. Of course people who have not seen one up close are gonna have fun asking 20 questions, dragging their kid across the parking lot to see him, taking pictures of him on their cell phone and leave their employment post just to get a glance. It all happen that way.

Okay, so I already have lots of Frankie pictures and don't need to have any more. I just can't help myself. Probably because I didn't have a child. What can I say. I admit it.

And if you have a large sulcata and take it somewhere around people, these are the twenty questions:
What kinda turtle is that?
Is that a tortoise?
Is this your pet?
How much does he weigh?
How old is he?
How long will he live?
What is his name?
Did you find him in the wild?
Where did you buy him?
How long have you had him?
How big was he when you got him?
What do they eat?
Where do you keep him?
Where can I get one?
Can I touch him?
Can I feed him?
Can I (you) pick him up?
Can he swim?
Can I take his picture?
Are they difficult to take care of?

That is 20 questions! That is why I carry an information sheet about Frankie. Sometimes I can't manage Frankie and answer questions at the same time.

September 22, 2008

Celebrity Turtle. Again.

Oh, well, what can I say. I am a sucker watching Frankie around people. :D

Frankie was at the Leeds Downtown Folk Festival this weekend. Had lots of fun. Even Greg agreed to walk with us which I appreciate since lifting Frankie in and out of the car is difficult.

Someone asked if Frankie would like to have a booth next year so kids could come and pet him. Of course, I could have laugh so hard I nearly fell off my chicken legs (see photo) -- Frankie sit in one spot all day! No way! Not only would he be endlessly walking and attacking the food vendors (bad food, Frankie, stay away), but any child in a orange, yellow, red or blue Croc shoes would be in immediate danger.

September 21, 2008

Revenge is sweet

Frankie exacted his revenge on that bale of fence wire that held him captive when he attempted to dig a tunnel under our AC unit.

Greg and I had to move the bale of fence wire into Frankie's area to mow and we forgot to put it back into a "safe" area. It probably took Frankie a couple of hours to do it but when I checked on him in the afternoon he had the wire completely unwrapped and pulled across the yard. He must have walked across it a dozen times 'cause it took me forever to straighten it out so I could roll it back up. I don't think that wire is gonna mess with Frankie anytime soon again!

September 17, 2008

Wiggly Meal

This morning was dig-up-worms-for-the-box-turtles day. Since we had a good rain two nights ago and a cloudy day yesterday, I figured worms would be nearer the surface to warm up and avoid the real wet soil. I was pretty right.

I yanked out about four really big earth worms. Mama Turtle, Big Turtle and Brown Eyes each got one. The extra one went to Brown Eyes who ended up sharing it (not willingly) with Big Turtle.

I love how the turtles will grab a worm and head off to protect their catch. "You aren't getting mine!" Chomp chomp! A turtle without a worm will pursue another turtle's dinner. To prevent this type of food fight, I try to dig up several worms at a time (like six or so) and let them eat those while I go and dig up a few more.

Worms are no easy meal. Digging them up is one thing cause they all have escape routes back into the soil. Sometime they will simply detach part of themselves. When they are dug up they fling themselves wildly about. They continue this dance as the box turtles try to eat them. Sometimes the worms get away. But for the most part, box turtles expect this wiggly meal and are ready for the battle.

I guess they had six worms of varying sizes each. Nothing to turn a turtle nose up to.

And one more note: Mama turtle spotted one big worm all by herself and very expertly pulled it from the ground. I was impressed at her skill. I am not so graceful. I end up with dirty knees, hands and nails.

September 15, 2008

Why Hansel & Gretel Used Bread Crumbs

Frankie has enjoyed some really nice weather this last week -- sun, clouds and temperatures in the 80's. He walked endlessly and if he needed to cool down there a cloud nearby for shade. It was never too hot so he didn't have to spend all week under the patio. But today must have been an unpleasant change for Frankie. It was all clouds.

I got up early to check on Frankie and found him at his enclosure door looking out to a foggy morning. He probably thought to himself that in a few hours it would cheery up and he could do as he had all weekend. After all, his enclosure was warmed by his heater. But, by the time I headed down to the gecko room at 10:00 am, Frankie was only head out of his enclosure and the day had not gotten better. Pure cloud cover.

When I re-emerged from the gecko room at 1:00 pm, Frankie was sitting smack in the middle of the yard. He apparently was waiting on some sun that would not show up all afternoon. I was filling pretty sorry for him at 3:00 pm and spent some time on the lawn with him rubbing on his shell. But he wasn't going anywhere. By 5:00 I feared he may be "cold" stuck and not moving from the spot without some encouragement. And I was not going to pick him up.

But there are always carrots.

So I took a large carrot and made a carrot trail from Frankie to his house and inside (just to be sure). That large, unmoving, 55 pound lump of no-go was on the move to pick up each and every carrot on the path. Motivation from the unmotivated.

If there is a lesson here it would be this: if Hansel and Gretel had used carrot pieces instead of bread crumbs, they still would be in a stew.

September 13, 2008

Beatin' Around Home

The problems with the blog have intimidated me a bit keeping me from blogging. I lost one blog entry (probably my error but things were strange) so was discouraged. But try, try, try again.

Frankie has been a perfect gentleman. I do think I am not paying enough attention to him since I started rehabbing a fledgling bird. But the bird is almost on its own so I won't have to worry so much about it. Of course, when I am digging in the dirt showing the young bird how to find bugs and worms in the ground, Frankie has to investigate. The bird flies off and I have nothing to do but rub Frankie's back. He is beginning to like that kind of attention.

Pumpkin, the year old box turtle needs a new home. I just have not had much success getting it done. I guess I can think about getting a table at the Dixie Reptile Show. I can bring him and some geckos. Problem is that I really want to be sure Pumpkin goes to the right home. I don't want someone to make an impulse buy and Pumpkin live a life of misery. Which, since he is getting bigger, he needs somewhere bigger to live.

Pumpkin is too small to live outside but quickly outgrowing his rubber tub (long tub with short sides). Again, he needs a new home either with me or someone else.

September 9, 2008

Frankie Excavations

Frankie got himself into a bit of a bind today. You know those Chinese finger traps (Google if you don't)? Well, Frankie got himself into one -- the size of a sulcata.

I went out this afternoon to check on the 'ole Franks only to find him MIA from the yard. :o Not to panic I did a double check just to be sure I hadn't overlooked him or any signs of a kidnapping. No Frankie in his house, under the porch, in the back '40s, by the trash pile, under the tree we took down yesterday. The fence was locked, nothing knocked over, no missing planks. He had to be inside somewhere. So I went for the third look under the porch.

It was then I noticed some dark, dug up soil that wasn't familiar from any of my "worm digs" I've been doing. Then it dawned on me. Pulling back a big black plastic container (used to be Frankie's old house) there was some funny looking stretched wire fencing that was nearly covered with newly dug dirt crammed in it.

Apparently Frankie, having noticed that I had "re-arranged" under the porch to clean it up a bit, had taken advantage of the poorly placed container to attempt a new tunnel. He had dug under the container and under some wound up wire fencing and proceeded to tunnel toward the air conditioning units (remember those from two summers ago?).

The plan was brilliant. The tunnel was nearly unnoticeable. The dirt was pushed up into a coil of wire which was blocked by the plastic container. Very clever....until a 50 pound sulcata attempts to back out of the tunnel and into the wire coil.

Oh, yes, Frankie had backed his butt into the wire coil and was caught like a finger in a Chinese finger trap. Go forward and the coil relaxes. Back up (to freedom) and get caught in the wire. Stuck he was. Probably since very early this morning.

When I managed to pull the wire-hugged Frankie back from the hole (oh, the indignity!), I nearly had to resort to rolling Frankie to loosen him from The Old Bale of Wire. Poor baby! Poor shell - it will never look the same!

Once freed, Frankie, no, he ran from under the porch and didn't stop until, well until he met his first clump of grass. Poor baby. Not a bite of grass all day.

I guess its time to go back to see if he has made a second attempt. I am sure he has already forgotten his crime and punishment.

September 3, 2008

Noisy Yard

Frankie has really been enjoying the last few days. We've had nice temperatures in the mid 80's and mostly cloudy - I would say Frankie really likes this combination. He gets to move around the yard a lot without overheating in the sun and can graze in the open too. No rain but we had plenty last week so the yard is green.

Greg went out and cut the grass so it looks good in Frankie's yard. I don't think he minds the cut grass even if the mower is loud. He can still graze without getting tall grass poking him all the time.

Our roof was damaged in sheer winds a month or so ago and today we finally got someone out here to fix it. Of course the roofers got a big kick out of Frankie. However, I don't think Frankie thought much of the hammering and noise created by the roofers. Frankie went to bed real early around 3:00 which is more like winter hours instead of summer hours.