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



October 19, 2014

UFO Invasion on Isle 8

Frankie, um, I mean the UFO (Unidentified Frankie Object) abducted 1st prize at the Pet Supermarket Pet Costume Contest.

UFO gets treat
UFO was spotted by everyone.

Best for last.

All out UFO invasion on Isle 8 by dog beds.

October 16, 2014

The Little Sock That Could

Seven days later, Frankie pooped the sock.

Yep, examining sulcata poop is a bit stinky.  Because of Frankie, I've done this so many times that it no longer disgusts to me.   

Little sock hidden within sulcata poop.
Dissection confirmed it was my under-ankle sock with the blue stripes.

Not to be left out of any backyard activity, Frankie butted in to see what I was doing. 

Sock must look appetizing to Frankie because he tried to eat it again.  Okay, now that is disgusting.

Sulcata owners learn that their tortoises can and will attempt to eat almost anything: plastic, cloth, shoes, toes, fingers, cigarettes, paper, rocks, scissors, toys, sticks, small children, dogs, gophers, cat poop, dog poop, roofing nails, geckos, yard tools, electrical cords, peanuts, candy, gum, fast food still wrapped, wrappers, scarves, wicker, book bags,......

Let's put it this way, if Amazon sells it a sulcata will try to eat it. 

On a serious note, these are the typical steps to take when a sulcata has eaten an object it should have eaten:

1) Confirm it happen. Search for object. If the object has disappeared completely and was near the sulcata it was probably eaten.
2) Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: clean and fill water dish daily or more.  Allow tortoise to soak daily, or if it's too big to soak follow it around the yard with garden hose with rain sprinkler attachment.
3) Feed simple,safe laxatives: cactus pads, aloe vera, various succulents, pumpkin, etc.
4) Check all poop for object.
5) Encourage sulcata to walk, walk, walk.

If things don't progress or the suclata's wellness changes, move to more aggressive action.

6) Visit veterinarian for examination, x-ray, appropriate drug therapy, manual cloaca manipulation or surgical removal.

Work hard on #1 through #5.  #6 is gonna cost a lot.  I was gonna have to give up cable for a year.

Frankie and I celebrate the Little Sock's triumph journey by taking a walk around the block.  Spend most of walk clearing path of cigarettes, to-go cups, plastic lids and a child's toy. 

October 7, 2014


Frankie ate my sock.  Um-hum, it is a bit funny. Right now.  Frankie eating my socks.  Again.

Muddy yard work.  It's fall and yard work increases exponentially.  Some mathematician is gonna get me for that comparison.  It feels like it's increased exponentially.

I finely broke down and bought two pallets of centipede sod.  Ended up I got the wrong kind as Greg was recommending St. Augustine but I had spend a week talking to someone about Phelsuma cepediana (commonly called the Blue Tail Day Gecko).  When I called for the sod I said I wanted "two pallets of cepediana...I mean ceppy, seppy,...what do you guys call it?"  Hence I ended up with two pallets of centipede. It should be okay.

Right or wrong, the ultimate test belongs to Frankie.  If Frankie eats the grass then the grass is okay.  If Frankie doesn't eat the cepediana......I mean centipede then my next door neighbor gets a free lawn make-over.

The centipede grass was a hit.  As Greg and I install it in the back yard Frankie went to work grazing on it. 

Don't worry, we bought this from an organic farm.  The sod is grown on soil that grew organic peanuts last year.  To help keep the soil healthy, they rotate crops and this year they grew cepediana....I mean centipede grass.

I found about the sod was grown on a previously-peanut-field until the soil was delivered.  All the peanut hulls and roots are on the bottom of the sod.  I wasn't worried about Frankie.  I was worried about was Greg who is sensitive to peanuts.  I warned Greg about it.  Greg wasn't worried about it since he wasn't the one grazing on the soil.

So we laid the sod.  Frankie taste tested each roll.  We finely have a Frankie approved yard now almost fully grassed.  Sod went down on 1/3 of the yard, 1/3 of the yard is the old grass and I've surrender the other 1/3 and call it Frankie's slide, mud pit and worm farm.  It works. 

The hard work began after the sod was laid.  Greg's arms had swollen red welts that took days to return to normal (I warned him).  We both would soak all the sod daily for up to two weeks regardless of how hot it is outside.  In hot weather it's like standing in your own steam bath while watering.

The greatest burden went to the grazer.  Frankie had the difficult choice between the old St Augustine, Pensacola Bahia Grass, clover, weed, hay or the new cepediana...I mean centipede grass.  It's a burden Frankie doesn't take lightly.

I can see it as he walks around the yard.  It's a bite of Bahia: light, crisp but a bit thin.  A taste of St Augustine: short but stout but chewy.  The small bitter clover is yummy.  The plentiful new cepe..centipede grass is delicious with a slight peanut overtone.  A return bite on the favorite Orchard Hay: dry crisp and the aroma of fresh hay. 

All that was nice but I suspect my sock was the pleasant surprise of the day.

I had just finished 30 minutes of watering all the sod.  At the back door I slid out of my wet shoes and pulled off my wet socks.  The socks got tucked into the shoe but not deep as I didn't want the inside of my shoes to get wet.  Barefooted I went inside for some nice cool ice tea.

Intending on returning outside immediately, I was briefly distracted by twenty-seven other things and actually opened the back door about an hour later.  Sitting less than five feet from me is Frankie chowing down on my sock.


Ignoring my frantic shouts to Stop!, Stop!, Stop!, Frankie continues to dine on my sock.  I grab the last half of the sock and battle Frankie for whole of the sock.  Ever so firmly I pull the sock back out of Frankie's mouth.

Frankie sits while I lecture him on the dangers of eating things like socks which are bad news if they get swallowed and have to travel the twist and turns of a sulcata tortoise's intestines.  Bad news, Frankie, if a sock gets caught on the way through and plugs up the plumbing because then said sulcata will have to visit a veterinarian.  If that veterinarian can't get the plumbing cleared then it could be the sock is causing an impaction and boy will that be a big deal: a really bad deal.

Frankie is patiently listening to my lecture when it dawns on me that the other, second sock is missing.  Yep. I got one sock in my hand lately saved from being totally ingested by Frankie but number two sock is completely missing in action.

My head dropped down to my chest.  Awe, man!

Write out To Do List:  1) search yard for missing sock, 2) go to every Asian and Hispanic market in the area to find aloe and cactus, 3) buy canned pumpkin, 4) reconsider that caring for a sulcata is more trouble than it's worth, 5) buy mineral oil, 6) erase number four (because I love Frankie), and 7) start poop patrol.

Worth considering is the missing sock is a super low cut sock.  You know, the socks that are so small they just don't stay above your heal and end up under your arch.  Yea.  Lucky me.  Cepedianna, centipede. Tube sock, ankle sock. Yea.  I know where missing socks go.

Wish me luck on poop patrol 2014.