Frankie Tortoise Tales Frankie Tortoise Tails sulcata care tortoise sulcata husbandry Frankie Tortoise Tails Frankie Tortoise Tails: Unusual Holiday Job



December 23, 2012

Unusual Holiday Job

Caretaker needed for large sulcata tortoise.  Tortoise is an 11 year old, 85 pound with the push and destroy power of high torque Ditch Witch and operates independently from screaming humans who believe they are the operators.

That tortoise stays inside our basement gecko room during winter.

He's there now.

We really want to see our family this Holiday Season.

We need a Frankie Sitter.

Must be able to lift 85 pounds of put-me-down-right-now wiggling dead weight tortoise.  Bonus if sitter has genius, mechanical and/or carpentry skills to create an emergency lift for emergency situations and can navigate over terrain from grass, mud, sidewalks, linoleum, and basement floors.

Must put up with copious amounts of urine and dozens bits of poop trailing from the sleeping area, across the gecko room, and often found in mysterious places that there is no explanation how the poop got there.  Often the poop will be mixed with the urine so must be skillful with a mop and tolerant of wringing a disgusting drippy mop five or six times daily as the amount of output from the rear end of the tortoise can only be described as "amazing."

Must be present downstairs in the gecko rooms when lights automatically come on at 7:00 am to check if the beast has moved around during the night and taken down a couple of chairs or tables or shelves.

Monitor weather daily checking for possible sunny skies.  If there is sun, it will not matter if its 30º F, the tortoise will want to go outside and bask. Even if there is no sun the tortoise will want to "see for himself" and may get lost between the back door and the gecko room.

Since the tortoise has refused any type of hay for 11 years the sitter will need to walk or drive to a chemical free area and pick a bag full of grass and weeds every day.  Okay, sure, buy a couple dozen brands and types of hay, cut them up, and soak them -- the tortoise will not eat any of it.  He wants fresh green grass and weeds.  If he doesn't get his fresh grass he will eat newspaper, socks, wash cloths, plastic, glitter and anything that has no resemblance to grass (except hay) because he's hungry and pissed. 

Be on alert between one o'clock to four o'clock in the after noon because there is no predicting when the tortoise wants to come inside.  He will bump the door a couple of times and if it doesn't open he will ram it;  If the door still doesn't open he will turn around to try the back yard gate which we keep closed so he will  turn around again toward the fenced barrier that "keeps him from escaping."  He will then ram through the barrier to look for someone else to shelter and feed him.  

This is important!  No matter what has transpired during the day, no matter how much poop and pee had to be cleaned up, how often he re-arranged the gecko room, how long it took to find pesticide free grass, how often the 85 pound monster has to be picked up, or how much destruction occurred, you must give him a carrot.

The carrot is not a reward. The carrot is the daily peace offering he expects otherwise he will take down a couple of walls, doors and shelves.

In the late afternoon, after he has had his carrot, and has crawled under his table, pile tons of newspaper all over him so he feels like he is safe in his cave.

There is one easy task:  feed and water the cat who will then attempt to love you to death for feeding and watering her.

Frankie doesn't have owners....Frankie has staff.

It's a lot to ask.  We just hope for the best and feel lucky to get an occasional Christmas with our families.

Dedicated to Julie Maguire, Turtle Rescue of Long Island, who does this every day for dozens of rescued turtles and tortoises. 

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