Frankie Tortoise Tales Frankie Tortoise Tails sulcata care tortoise sulcata husbandry Frankie Tortoise Tails Frankie Tortoise Tails: March 2014



March 20, 2014

Spring Green

Frankie has a new best friend.  I am not the new best friend because I moved him to Mobile.  Up to this point Frankie is not happy about being in Mobile.  It is going to get better.  Yesterday it got a bit better.  I'm back in Frankie's Top Five Friend List as I did introduce him to his new best friend.

The day before he got to meet our down-hill next door neighbor.  I know our uphill neighbor pretty well and see her a lot.  The lower-on-the-hill neighbor works a lot of hours so five months later I still hadn't met her.  

Frankie and I were walking to a house two doors down the street where Frankie has permission to graze.  It's difficult getting to that house because Frankie has to walk past our down-hill next door neighbor's spectacularly beautiful lawn loaded with tall, bright green, fresh, winter rye grass. 

Frankie wants that grass so much that every time we walk past the green garden of delight house I have a 30 foot scrimmage to keep him out of his desired yard.  I have a very strict rule that Frankie does not graze a yard without permission.

This means that since October of last year Frankie has been disallowed access to the sea of green he so longingly wishes to graze.

Until yesterday.

The day before we were our way back home, I was struggling to keep Frankie on the sidewalk and out of our down-hill neighbor's grass when our neighbor pulls up into her drive way.  I was a bit embarrassed that she witnessed his nibbling on the very edges of her lawn and me desperately trying to drag him back into our pitiful grass-lacking yard.

She waved at us as she got out of her car with purse, jacket and bag in hand and walked over to say hello.

"So, this is the Frankie I've heard all about.  Wow, he is so BIG."

Commence the Frankie questions: how much does he weigh, what species is he, where does he sleep, how long have you had him, were did you get him, what does he eat, and so on.

After the question and answer session (all the while struggling to keep Frankie away from her yard) I apologize to her mentioning that Frankie tries to be be respectful and I work to keep him off her beautiful lawn but he has nibbled some off the sides.

To this she exclaims that most certainly Frankie can graze on her grass, she doesn't mind at all.  Graze away!  Less to mow on the weekends.

The invitation sounds too good to be true so I double check and ask if she is sure he can graze on her lawn.  We get the please, do let Frankie graze!

So the next day, yesterday, I walked the hungry Frankie directly to the green yard of bountiful grass.

Oh my.  Frankie was very happy.

Frankie is in Sulcata Tortoise Heaven

Nom, nom, nom.
I love you, grass.

Frankie enjoying the all-you-can-eat-at-the-neighbor's-spring-grass-buffet

In case you can't see it:

Happy Spring!

 Really.  Need I say more?


(post a comment below!)

March 11, 2014

As slow as cold

Really, really haven't had much to write about.  Frankie's been mad at me and when a sulcata tortoise is mad there is not much fun to write about.

February was so cold.  More freezing nights.  Freezing nights mean Frankie stayed inside. Staying inside in a very small gecko room means Frankie didn't get to walk around.  Frankie got desperate to walk so he would repeatedly ram the door insisting on going outside.  Outside was freezing cold.  Frankie outside means Frankie walks as slow as cold.

A slow-as-cold sulcata tortoise is a pitiful sight.  Frankie wants to walk but he can barely lift himself off the floor.  He wants to move forward but his feet just aren't getting much of a forward lift.  The back feet drag across the floor like an agonizing slow soft shoe shuffle.  When a back foot drags too slow a front foot moves forward too soon and Frankie's walk looks a bit like a drunk-on-beer wobble.

Frankie pins the blame squarely on me:  I moved him here under false pretenses. Winter is supposed to be warmer in Mobile but clearly it is not.  Frankie's new yard should be full of green grass but  hard freezes killed everything.  There are no squirrels.  There is no Petco.

There was a sun ray of hope this last weekend.  Temperatures were above 80ยบ F, the sun was crispy hot.  Frankie slept outside.  In the morning he was all about finding the best basking spot.

Once Frankie got a good hour bask something else happen:  He was very hungry. There is nothing in the yard to graze. 

To appease a starving Frankie I trekked out looking for grass and weeds somewhere in the greater county of Mobile, Alabama.  There wasn't much green out there.  I had to drive and walk to a lot of places. It no longer bothers me when people gawk at me as I am stooped over pulling up weeds on road meridians and ditches:  "Look at the homeless woman.  What is she doing out there? Is she collecting aluminum cans or something?" 

I prevail and deliver Frankie a large Publix sack full of weeds.  Frankie devours the bounty in less than two minutes.  He is still hungry.  I check the refrigerator for any wilting salad greens and am forced to judge a perfectly good bag of Mixed Greens as not fit for human consumption.  The fresh greens are mixed with Frankie-would-rather-die-than-eat-Vitakraft-Orchard-Grass.  Since Frankie has to pick out the fresh greens from the dry hay it takes him five minutes to eat that batch. 

After his two course meal I watched Frankie circle about the yard twice.  There is no feet dragging.  He is sure footed up and down yard inclines and slopes.

Frankie is no longer slow as cold and I must consider driving for greens up to twice daily until his yard grass comes in.

Today it was raining all day so Frankie stayed in his cave. I feel bad for Frankie after his two days in the sun but if that rain brings us some green grass then it's a fair trade. 

As I said, not so funny or interesting.  Once it warms up Frankie will forgive me for everything.  But for now, it's that in between time period between Frankie-slow-as-cold and my ram-bam-get-me-a-carrot-'mam summer Frankie.


To my absent friend, Greta Maloney who has grass and weeds plenty for Frankie if we were still in Birmingham.