Frankie Tortoise Tales Frankie Tortoise Tails sulcata care tortoise sulcata husbandry Frankie Tortoise Tails Frankie Tortoise Tails: July 2011

Frankie

Frankie

July 23, 2011

85 pounds going on 10 years

It's Frankie birthday on August 1st.  He is 85 pounds going on 10 years old.

I thought about getting him something special for his 10th birthday but Frankie would ask for the same things he always wants:

Carrots.
A ticket to fly Rosie (his girlfriend) here for a week.
AC unit for his outdoor enclosure.
More carrots.
Permanent 72ยบ F outdoors with clear to party cloudy skies.
A yard composed of 50% clover, 30% dandelions, 20% other grasses and weeds.
Self dispensing carrot machine.

But his birthday wish list doesn't help me improve my care of him.  I think he would be happier if I could take better care of him.  So here is my list of things I want for Frankie's birthday.

An all-terrain, hydraulic Frankie lift with solar recharging batteries
An automatic Frankie-Wash with under carriage cleaner.
5 additional swivel-controlled security cameras
An attaching Frankie tracking device with monitoring software
Motion sensing fences (for cats and humans jumping fence)
A hedge maze with a path totaling 1 mile that Frankie can walk over and over
Taller privacy fences so I can run out in my nightie to save Frankie.
My own motor scooter with a side car for Frankie, plus a retractable slide
A door directly from Frankie's outdoor house into the basement so I don't have to walk him half way around the house when I want to bring him inside.

....oh, I could just go on and on and on.

But, I wouldn't have Frankie any other way than 85 pounds going on 120 pounds in the next 10 years.

July 16, 2011

Suclata Eating Habits

1. The buffet diner. A sulcata sits in one place and eats only things within head lenght.  This technique usually involves food items place in front of suclata by keeper.  Maybe a sign of a very lazy sulcata.

2.  Sulcata two-step or the "walk and graze".  A sulcata will take two steps, stop, eat a couple of bites, chew, then take another couple of steps, stop, chew, then take another couple of steps, stop, bites, etc., etc....

3.  Taste tester.  An sulcata, unsure of what it wants, will wander around looking for just the right area with the right combination of grass and weeds.

4. The traveler.  Similar to the Sulcata two-step except this sulcata is on a mission to a non-food location but will take bites along the way.

5. The opportunist.  A sulcata who takes a sudden diversion when sighting a favorite food item.  All other activities like walking, seeking shelter, running from predator, avoiding a tornado, etc., will cease immediately so they can get it's favorite food.  "Oh wow, a dandelion!  Excellent!"

6. The idiot.  Will eat anything just to see if it is editable.

7. Not so smart eater. A sulcata will eat the same item again even though last time they ate it they got so sick they nearly died.

8.  Grass is greener eater.  No matter a keeper's effort to make a yard delicious, the suclata believes that all grass and weeds he can see on the other side of the fence is much, much better than his own.  Warning to keepers:  a sulcata will take down a fence if he can see what is on the other side.

9. Water grazer.  The moment it starts to rain or the yard sprinkler comes on, a sulcata will run out to eat wet grass.

10. Sit and Spin.  Finding a good grass patch, a sulcata will eat all within its reach and then pivot slightly to the next patch of uneaten grass until it's nearly made a full circle.

11.  The midnight snacker.  During very hot days, a sulcata will hide until dark and then run out to eat as  much grass as they can before returning to shelter for much needed beauty sleep.

12. The glutton.  Occurs mostly with hatching, juveniles and indoor sulcata that eat un-natural diets.  When served a meal of greens, veggies and fruits piled higher than the sulcata itself, the tortoise will eat every bit and then look at the owner with big black eyes begging for more.  

13.  Picky snob.  Will refuse any food item unless it's their favorite food to the point they could starve.  An example is a sulcata who refuses to eat hay in the middle of the winter when there is no other available healthy food item.

14. Nit Picker.  Provided a combination plate of food mixed together to include favorite and less favorite food items, the sulcata will carefully pick out only the favorite food items.

15.  Balding.  Will clear out one area to the point there is no grass at all.  This may be a hint that the sulcata wants a mud patch.  

July 13, 2011

10 Reasons A Sulcata is Better Than A Cat or Dog

A sulcata can rearrange patio furniture and most anything else in the backyard.

If you have a big yard with lots of weed and grass, sulcata are cheaper to feed than dogs.

Sulcata poop can be flung like a missile, unlike dog or cat poop.

A sulcata won't keep the neighbors up all night barking.

Your friends and family aren't allergic to your sulcata.

Keeping a sulcata encourages you to have more fiber and vegetables in your diet.

When you grow your own "weed" for a sulcata, it's not illegal.

Every ten to fifteen years you are not burying a beloved pet - sulcata will live as long as you live!

(Read fan contributions to the "list" on comments below.  Add your own!)

July 7, 2011

Mom is so mad at me!

I am so mad at Frankie.  
I had to go out of town for the weekend.
  Mom just took off for a vacation!
We've had so much rain in the last week that the grass in Frankie's yard was getting out of hand.  Before I left for Wisconsin, I asked Frankie for a very simple favor:  mow your yard.
  Mom asked me to mow the yard.
He had four whole days and besides, it's not like Frankie has anything else to do. His day consist of sleeping in until 10:00 a.m., walking around the yard, grazing, sleeping in the shade, grazing and turning in for his beauty sleep at 4:00 p.m.
  It's not like I don't have other things to do.  I am a very busy sulcata.
Frankie endured four weeks of no rain, above average temperatures and dry grass.  He hid under the bushes to escape the heat and only came out late in the evening.  But the rain finely returned and the grass in his yard grew taller and taller.
  There was a lot of grass in the yard.
Sure, there was a lot of grass but I really didn't think Frankie would need any help. How difficult could it be?
   I could have used some help.
Frankie should be than happy to spend a few extra hours each day mowing down fresh green grass.  The weekend weather was perfect:  warm, cloudy, moist!
  There is only so much I can do.
After eating dry grass for weeks, I thought he would be starved!  There was plenty to eat in the yard. 
   I was stuffed.
When I got back, the yard was not mowed.
  I was so glad when mom got home.
Was it asking too much to expect him to keep up the yard?
  I sure missed her.
So I had to go out and mow the yard myself. 
  She even came outside and helped me finish mowing the yard.  
I've learned my lesson.  I'm not going to ask Frankie to do any more chores.
  I can't wait to see what she asks me to do next time she goes on vacation.