Frankie Tortoise Tales Frankie Tortoise Tails sulcata care tortoise sulcata husbandry Frankie Tortoise Tails Frankie Tortoise Tails: June 2005



June 27, 2005

AM Clouds and clouds

Its been cloudy for a few days here in Birmingham and today looks no different. Yesterday, Frankie didn't come out of his house at all. I checked on him and he was laying there under his blanket and straw, head sticking out, quite relaxed. He was not, however, interested at all in coming out. This morning is not different.

Just to be sure I took a close look at his eyes, nose and mouth to see that there was no evidence of respiratory illness. There was none. I will keep an eye out. Now that he is outside every night, although in a shelter, he could be experience chills from the night.

I have a new turtle -- an ornata box turtle. He is a young thing, probably two years old and in perfect condition. He has been in quarantine for the last week. I've put him in a under-the-bed plastic container with a heat light (Frankie's indoor heat light). He has Frankie's old cave (a picture of the cave is in Russ Gurley's sulcata book) for shelter. He has a ceramic water dish. Every morning when I go in the gecko room to water at 7:00 a.m. he is out of the cave and basking under the lights. I put in calcium/vitamin dusted breeding crickets or superworms every morning. The first two days he was not interested in eating. By day three, he was running madly to catch each and every prey. Turtles are amazingly fast when running down crickets. He certainly had no problem eating everyone.

He got wormed on Saturday. Probably after another worming and a clean fecal check, and a few more weeks in isolation, I will think about putting him out with the other box turtles. I will need to look over the enclosure to see if there are small areas that he could penetrate -- he is the smallest of the turtles that I have.

Pictures coming soon!

June 20, 2005

Gone on trip

I've just gotten back from a four day trip. It is always nerve wracking leaving all the turtles and geckos behind in the hands of people with a little reptile experience. I must say that if I had a choice of of "reliable but little experience" and "experience but not reliable" I would go with the reliable. At least I know that someone was watching them.I had a total of four people watching all the geckos and turtles. Frankie, Mattie and the four box turtles were the charge of a first grader. She was under the very careful supervision of her older brother (who is so very reliable I would leave him with five hundred unregistered diamonds, they would all be there on my return). Anyway, her job was to check Frankie every day to see that he was secure in his fence. She fed Mattie everyday and did a head count on the box turtles. When we returned this evening I went first to the back to see if Frankie was okay. He was asleep in his new shelter. I piled hay on him and closed the top. He was safe. I will see everyone in the morning!

June 13, 2005

After a long wait, Greg has installed Frankie's outdoor enclosure. Greg is a perfectionist, saying "if you are goind to do something, do it right the first time and you will never have to redo it later." So we had to wait. The day Greg selected was a day that it misted lightly all day long. He had little choice as the deadline to have this done was fast approaching.

Getting Frankie used to his new house was pretty easy. I think at first Frankie was confused and upset that I wasn't bringing him in for the night as I have done since he was little. However I did go outside after dark and cover him with a towel as I have been doing forever. I think that made him feel a bit more comfortable.

Here are the photos:

Frankie in his new house, feeling very comfortable coming and going through out the day.

Heading in!

Plenty of room to turn around and snuggle down.

I think that this house will suit him for a couple of years. I do like that it is situated next to the house. It has a lock. The lift lid will make it easy to check him and clean out messes.

Early this morning I check outside to see if he had emerged from his house. He had and I watched him go in and out of the new house all day. He sat at the door several times just watching the day go by. I think he likes it.

Hey, Greg, Frankie says thanks. So do I.

June 5, 2005

Good day for turtles

Frankie walked by himself from the gecko room to the garage and then outside by himself with just a little guidance. He is learning! Twice accomplished is the beginning of a pattern. Very happy with this. He is getting too big for me to pick up and I am already seeing a Chiropractor for a back injury (yoga). I hope Greg gets that outdoor shelter in soon!I bought hay for the turtle pen. Only bad thing about this is the hay fills up the space so much that it is hard to find the turtles. Still, with the ground being so wet, putting down the straw was very necessary.

June 3, 2005

First Day of Sunshine

Its been since Saturday last (6 days) that the turtles have been outside. This morning, while it was still overcast and drizzling, I put Frankie and the box turtles under the halogen light stand I made for them. At about noon, the sun came out. I opened the gecko room door and the door to outside. Frankie saw this and for the first time ever, he walked outside by himself. It meant a lot to me since I've been seeing a Chiropractor for several weeks now because of my hurt back. Lifting 40 pounds of Frankie doesn't help it at all.The box turtles went after all the bugs washed up by the rain. Our pixie tortoise went out too and seemed to be very happy to get fresh air.On my list to buy this weekend is fresh straw for the turtle pen.