A much discussed topic among sulcata owners is how to make sure everyone knows the moving rock in the yard belongs to you, espcially when said rock goes through a fence and heads down the street.
This is of particular concern since turtle seems to be a menu item for many Alabama families. Thinking that Frankie could accidently be mistaken for a gourmet meal is horrifying to me. I want Frankie tagged so anyone coming across him can immediatly identify that he is a pet and he is wanted back very much.
To quickly go over the many ways that people have tagged their tortoises, turtles and sulcata and the problems/consequences:
Paint name on shell: unattractive, toxic paint.
Drill hole and put on id tag: painful, possible infection, considered cruel.
Glue ID tag on shell: may permanently damage shell, glues may be toxic.
Feet bracelets: Tears up skin when a turtle or tortoise retracts into shell.
Etch ID on shell: extremely painful, possible infection, considered cruel.
Neck tag: Tears up skin when a turtle or tortoise retracts into shell.
Basically, turtles and tortoises are not built for tagging. Owners still take risks tagging them as the thought of loosing the beloved pet is just too much. I feel exactly the same about Frankie.
Frankie does have a microchip implanted ID. It was one of the heroic and unbelievable moments when Dr. Atlas proved to be as good a sneak as he is a veterinarian.
No way would Frankie sit still with his foot out while the good doctor injected this chip into his body.
We distracted Frankie with a carrot long enough for a needle to be pushed into his skin.
The moment Dr. Atlas pushed the plunger into Frankie, all bets were off. Frankie slammed forward, jerked his leg out of my hand crushing my knuckes as he went. He then reversed slammed into Greg who was at one point actually holding him down.
Dr. Atlas, Greg and myself where sprawled across the floor while Frankie did the bumper-car off our legs, knees and walls. Just were are those video's when you need them?
Tip: if you get your sulcata a microchip implant, don't attempt it on a raised table. If we had, Frankie would have flown across the room with his first forward slam.
So now one may ask what good a microchip does when a sulcata escapes? Most folks don't have a scanner to detect these things unless one takes them to a animal shelter or veterinarian. Then again, even these people may not think to scan a turtle.
So why did I do this? To positively identify Frankie as MINE. If he did run away or was taken, I have proof positive that he is mine. Yes, proof of ownership may be required if one wants to reclaim a tortoise from a pet store, shelter, or in a dispute with another person that claims the turtle is theirs.
Of course, I can spot Frankie pretty easy anyway due to a unique physical characteristic.
So, back to the fact that Frankie walking down the street is still not identifiable as my pet to a person coming across him who decides the kids need a cool pet. I have that covered, and I have a hint to someone considering Frankie for a meal that he is a pet.
Frankie is labeled on his butt with a return address sticker.