Frankie Tortoise Tales Frankie Tortoise Tails sulcata care tortoise sulcata husbandry Frankie Tortoise Tails Frankie Tortoise Tails: Sup!



May 5, 2013


I am mother to a teenage sulcata tortoise.

I brought out a carrot for Frankie and called to him, "Treat!  Wanna carrot?!  Carrot.  Treat!  Treat! Frankie, do you want a carrot?  I got a carrot.  Come get your carrot."

I got no response.

Frankie's been living outside now for a couple of weeks.  His yard is full of fresh new green grass and dandelions  and summer weeds.  He is getting hours of sun.  Temperatures hover in the 70's.  After a full hour basking in the sun Frankie can take a leisurely walk all the way around his very big yard, some of which he hasn't seen since last year.

I got a carrot (his favorite treat) and I am standing in plain sight of Frankie.  I'm waving the carrot around to catch his eye.

"Look, Frankie, I got a carrot!  Carrot.  Carrot.  Come get your carrot! Come on, Frankie."

Frankie is giving no indication that he has seen me or heard me.  He is about fifteen feet from where I stand and he is grazing away.  When he looks up so he can swallow (sometimes it's frightening when he chews and shallows for three minutes straight and never breath) he seems to just ignore me.

Maybe he is blind in that eye.

I walk over so I am six feet directly in front of Frankie.  "Look, Frankie, a carrot!  You want a carrot?  Carrot.  Carrot.  Treat! Treat!"

He just grazes.


I get down on my knees in front of Frankie and start waving the carrot eight inches from his nose so one of his two eyes will have to see the carrot.

Frankie looks up.  He chews on his grass.  He stares past the carrot like its air.  "Sup!"

Sup!?  I get a sup?! I just wanna know if you want a carrot.

He finely sees the carrot.  It may as well be air. Calmly he reaches out to bite it.  He misses the carrot and gets nothing.

And just like a teenager who is just told  "pick up all your dirty clothes off the floor, NOW," Frankie just walks past me, and the carrot, and heads out to do something else.

My relationship with the teen Frankie has been whittled down to "sup."

Walks around the block, Halloween costumes, parades, birthday cakes and Frankie-songs. Mom's favorite activities may become tragic victims of a moody teenage tortoise.

I'm gonna have to get used to it.


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