Frankie is his own man (um…turtle) now. He's moved out of our house and gecko room and into his own domicile in the backyard. I feel like I am a mere neighbor. Now I sit at my back window and watch Frankie carry out his life. His new "digs" are quite plush. He has a Rubbermaid riding mower shed converted into a three story condominium. The top floor or roof level is strictly for his bird buddies who stop by for birdseed brunches. The main level is spit into two areas: the tunnel entrance and his tricked out digs complete with heat pad (cleverly hung on a side wall), temperature gauge, and straw bedding. The walls are painted black to give him that tortoise cave feel sought after by many up-ward moving modern sulcata.
The cave has a very interesting ceiling system that lifts for access the second level. The ceiling can be opened for increased ventilation, outdoor sunlight, and maid service. This ceiling system has two separate sections: one over the "tunnel" and one over the main cave. These two sections move independently so to provide choices and select access from the second floor "maintenance" section of the habitat into the first floor living areas.
The maintenance area houses electrical outlets, an adjustable thermostat, storage, roof access, security devices, and visitor station. Just inside Frankie front door and adjacent to the tunnel is a small sitting area where a human with a cup of coffee and freshly baked blueberry muffin can sit and visit with Frankie as he lounges in his cave. Since the cave has this clever retractable ceiling, Frankie and his visitor and enjoy each other company safe from rain and inclement weather.
Frankie's been good about letting "mom" visit his bachelor cave. The sitting nook adjacent to the tunnel and cave allow Frankie full privacy yet complete access when mom is doing maid service. Visitors are advised the importance of knocking before opening the ceiling, not that Frankie may be caught in any compromising position, but an unannounced visitor could scare Frankie into a sudden "hiss and retreat" follow by his reluctance to believe that anything by an Alabama boogie monster has arrived to turn him into soup and eat him. Construction chief on Frankie crib is none other than hubby Greg, master electrician, computer whisperer, terrific technician and "it-takes-two-years-to-complete-a-masterpiece" builder. When Greg makes something, he builds it to last forever. The only thing putting this fantastic flat out of order will be a 100 pound growth on Frankie, but then Greg has a phase-two first floor expansion plan to accommodate an extra 30 pound growth spurt so long as Frankie doesn't turn out to be a taller Aldabra Tortoise rather than his shorter Sulcata self.
And yesterday, Frankie got a final addition to his house: a covered patio at the cave entrance for those really hot and sunny days when a bit of shade is needed.
I'm now just Frankie's neighbor. He is nearly self sufficient (as any modern tortoise is) with a space to call his own complete with daily maid service, a pool complete with weekly pool service, and lots of yard area to walk and graze. Frankie put in an order for cable and high speed internet access, but I don't think he should expect this anytime soon.