Frankie Tortoise Tales Frankie Tortoise Tails sulcata care tortoise sulcata husbandry Frankie Tortoise Tails Frankie Tortoise Tails: One day it happens



January 9, 2009

One day it happens

There comes a day for every sulcata owner as they gaze upon their ever growing monster that said owner realizes they can never pick up their beloved sulcata again. I have faced that day.

I remember gone days when my precious baby sulcata would sit gently on the palm of my hand. Oh boy, Frankie was so cute back then. And I could carry the older juvenile sulcata in a woven little hand basket. But the already growing size was evident. Frankie outgrew his basket and I had to buy a big rubber tub to transport him around. You know those totes - the big ones you store Christmas decorations in.

But one day Frankie got big enough he could no longer turn around in the tub and besides by this time the tub has been scratch into complete destruction. By this time a two-handed pick up is necessary. But I can still pick him up. The warning signs are there.

Then the first back injury happens and then the second. Frankie needs to be moved quickly inside like during a thunderstorm. I reach down and forget to "use my legs" when picking up heavy objects. Two weeks of Tylenol and my back finally starts feeling better.

So I began to take extra precautions in picking up the now 35 pound sulcata. Still, picking up is possible. I could get Frankie in and out of the car. I could get Frankie out of the bushes. I could pick him up and re-direct him when he walks off course. But still, on occasion, my back gets hurt. In fact it seems like I have chronic back pain. I purchase tylenol in bulk because I need it.

Then comes the time period of brainstorms on how to move the sulcata. I buy a little red wagon, a garden cart, a skateboard and any other mobile device because at this point I can still pick him up to put him on these numerous contraptions. Occasionally I had to call for help from my husband. I have been guilty of asking a perfect stranger to help pick up Frankie.

This period of invention solving The Growing Problem (and it is a growing problem) went on for perhaps two or three years. I even believed for a short time period that I was turning into a champion weight lifter. But the time was ticking away on all of that....because one day I have my first serious sulcata related injury.

For others it may be throwing out the back. It may be getting the foot run over with the cart carrying the sulcata. I've heard of one man who fell when moving his sulcata and the sulcata broke his arm. It is an injured foot or finger, or broken bones. The first serious sulcata related injury usually involves a crushing incident. A trip to the emergency room. Lots of ice. More Tylenol.

And one day it happens.

I am staring at the monster that I grew. I mean I fed it after all. It's all my fault. That little cute tortoise who stole my heart eight years ago is now a walking potential disaster. I see Frankie in a whole other light.

As I nurse my black and blue finger that was crushed by my 56 pound sulcata a week ago I am still wondering if I will ever type with ten fingers again instead of nine. I've postponed his trip to the park for a walk because it involves picking him up. I am not enthusiastic about taking him to Petco or Petsmart because I have to get him into the car.

Yep, it happened. And I have absolutely no intention of picking Frankie up ever again. If he wants to go somewhere he can just get there himself.

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