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June 21, 2015

The Bissell Pro Heat Carpet Cleaner

When the summer heat index reaches 109ºF it prompts me into immediate action to keep Frankie cool.  The temperature is actually only 92º which isn't really all that hot (having spent years in Phoenix, Arizona) but when the humidity is 65% then it's hot.

Frankie doesn't sweat and he is cold-blooded which for anyone deprived of an honest high school biology class that just means that Frankie is the temperature of the area he sits for more than 10 minutes.  For anyone desiring a moment of intellectual stimulation, Frankie is poikilothermic:  an organism that is incapable of thermal homeostasis.  

During these really hot days Frankie, and all other cold blooded animals, will do what is required to be somewhere cooler and more comfortable.  The sulcata tortoise will do this:

Frankie, and other sulcata, will dig a huge tunnel into the cool earth.  A tunnel up to 12 feet long and deep enough that one could convert it into a cistern when not occupied by said large beast.  Never to allow Frankie to dig again I pledged to do one thing:  accommodate Frankie's need for security and comfort in his preferred temperatures zone.

Thus began the ten year quest of the perfect outdoor habitat for Frankie.  We've done well. We've invested much money and effort.  Sometimes it works.  The extreme temperature is most challenging.  Once temperatures begin to rise above 92º F it often required serious Frankie temperature intervention.

In the past Frankie has been happy to sit and soak in water.
For some reason this year Frankie is afraid of his kiddy pool and will not go inside willingly.  I am tired of dragging him inside the pool only to get trampled as he runs back out.

As I do every summer, I try to make cool areas cooler by adding shade cloths.

Yesterday I took a hand towel, seriously dampened it (wet would be a disaster) and put it into the freezer for 30 minutes.  I then took the frozen towel and placed it over Frankie's shell.  About eight minutes later it softens enough to comform to Frankie's shell providing him with coolness for an hour or so.

These simple techniques seem to fall short today.  I checked in with Frankie and he was just looking miserable.  Hot and miserable.  So I do the one thing I shouldn't but those sweet black eyes just looked so miserable.  I let Frankie come inside for a cool down.

Frankie was prompt to come inside and polite enough to just sit in the hall waiting for his shell to absorb that cool 74ºF indoor air.  He got restless about 30 minutes later so I put up a few Frankie barriers so he wouldn't start walking aimlessly, and destructively, through the house. 
It's very important to re-look at the above photo of Frankie relaxing in the living room because five minutes after this photo was taken all hell broke loose.

Frankie first set upon the rug to the top right and proceeded to eat the white fray which I immediately pulled out if his mouth.  While I took the rug and moved it off the floor Frankie decided to test the barrier that was keeping him from going into our bedroom.

The bench looks like an inadequate barrier for Frankie but indeed the barrier held has he plowed into it and jammed into the door frame.  I am hear to say that that barrier was going no where and Frankie was not getting through.

From zero to 100% impossibility scale, zero being easy to overcome and 100 to being impossible, that bench was 100% impossible to push aside.  When faced with an immovable object in the 100% impossible scale Frankie will simply break the object.

I didn't really like that bench anyway. 

The "missing" in this photo was what Frankie did while I tried to un-assemble him from the wreckage of the bench which was to poop on the rug.  What the heck, right?  He pooped and then backed up over the poop so it would really rub into the carpet.  Right?

Frankie, being cooled down to turn completely mischievous, was promptly turned outside where he was cool enough to graze in the hot sun for 30 minutes before his shell temperature reached 85º and so then headed into the shade before he reached the current outdoor ambient temperature of 92ºF which is uncomfortable for any sulcata and for Frankie.

Which goes back to the title of this Frankie Tail and why I drove to Costco and I am now the owner of my very own steam carpet cleaner, my first ever, because the poop of a ten pound sulcata or even the fifty pound sulcata is nothing like the poop of a one hundred five pound sulcata.


  1. AnonymousJune 21, 2015

    Absolutely hiilrious, wifey can't stop laughing and it's brought on a choking fit.
    Love these stories. Tidgy's Dad via Tortoise Forum

  2. AnonymousJune 24, 2015

    Hilarious Gotta love Frankie, and the way you write. My little 8lb sully already pushes stuff out of his way on the lanai, Makes the cat move out of his comfy spot for no reason - but that he can, and tries to get into the dog bowl. Their bulldozer personalities are a constant entertainment.
    Alaskamike via Tortoise Forum

  3. Frankie is my favorite tortoise person!
    From RussianTortoise yahoo groups Mary