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



August 28, 2005

Playground for Turtles

We have fire ants in Frankie's yard. I spot treat the fire ant mounts and then cover them with things so Frankie doesn't eat the poison. Last night, after Frankie was asleep, I treated several fire ant mounds and covered them with plastic lids. Today I found Frankie using one of the longer plastic lids as a slide. He has been doing this all afternoon! He is having too much fun!

I took QuickTime pictures which Greg says he can post on the internet. Can't wait.

Katrina Preparations

It is official, Birmingham will be impacted by Katrina -- more than Ivan a year ago and that was much! We are expecting high winds, rains, power outages, etc.

Box turtles will be brought inside. Frankie will be left outside in his enclosure but Greg will lock down the top so it doesn't get blown open. I don't think we have time to put on his weather strips that we picked up at Turtle Cafe. Last hurricane we put a plastic top in front and put a brick in front. Mattie gets to walk around outside today but it will be indoors for the next day or two.

We are getting gasoline for the generator in just a bit. Last time we got gas we paid only $2.18 -- oh, those were the days! (gads, I can remember when gas was .75 a gallon!). We will go by the food store to pick up a few things -- mostly for crickets and not so many things for us.

We've put a couple of notices out that we have space for a family at our home for anyone evacuating but no one so far has taken us up on the offer.

August 24, 2005

Late Night Frankie

Went out at 8:30 p.m. tonight to look for Mattie, the spider tortoise (she gets out each afternoon to graze in Frankie the sulcata's pen. Since meeting her and doing lots of sniffing, he has not bothered her since). Frankie usually heads in for the night long before sunset, usually about 6:00 or so. Tonight, in my search for Mattie, which I am doing after sunset as it is so very hot, temperatures in the 90's and heat index in the 100's, I thought I saw Frankie sitting just inside his house. I focused the flashlight right on his entrance and sure enough, Frankie was sitting with his head and fore-body on the door entrance, awake.

I've heard that sulcatas, in their native land, during the very heat of summer, sometimes come out at night to graze when it is cooler. Perhaps tonight Frankie was mimicking the natural behavior of his wild counterparts. It was interesting to see.

August 8, 2005

It's a rule

Well, I have to concede the fight -- Frankie pooped in his house again. Maybe it doesn't sound like a big deal, but when he lived inside and I got to move him outside, I really felt that I had cleaned up my last sulcata poop. But no, he poops in his outdoor house.

The first time he poop in his outdoor house I had to think he pooped by accident, the second time he just needed to poop and couldn't wait, the third time, well that was just plain deliberate, and now, forth and on, pooping in his house is a rule. That is how it goes: accident, need, deliberate, rule. Takes us humans a long time to get it.

August 4, 2005

A cow in a shell

I was sitting in our dining room this morning, looking out the window, watching Frankie (the sulcata) munching down on a patch of grass. After chewing the grass down to a short nub, he moved forward a few feet and began chewing on another bunch of grass. This whole picture was somewhat familiar: I had to consider that Frankie is much like a cow in a turtle shell. I grew up with quite a bit of exposure to farm animals including cows, horses, ducks, goats, chickens, etc., so the sight of an animal grazing is not all that unusual to me. I guess I could have said that 'Frankie is like a horse in a turtle shell' but the cow picture seems more accurate, and I think I remember hearing someone once saying "cow in a shell" about sulcata. So, looking out to my backyard and watching Frankie graze across his field, I admit that there are similarities between him and a cow, but at least I don't have to milk him everyday.

August 2, 2005

All's well

Summer temperatures have returned to normal and the rain is regular rather than constant. Better for all the turtles in general.

Frankie gets to walk around and graze a lot more. He gets up speed coming down the slope in his enclosure; funny to watch. Frankie still gets a weekly fruit and almost daily snacks of veggies. I put out a cuttlebone for him a couple of days ago and he has nearly devoured it already. I've been warned that sulcata eat cuttle bone like candy.

My poor ornate turtle still lives inside. We have mentally solved the fencing problem but have not located the wiring to do the job. Partially this is due to a huge bill that came due to our family that has caused us to delay spending money in other areas - including turtles.

The small, deformed sulcata is just existing. He doesn't seem to eat on his own thought I put fresh lettuce in his enclosure. Twice daily I force feed him a different variety of foods: Sometimes its pureed veggies, a wax worm, or a special mix of commercial foods and vitamins/calcium. His life is just one of waiting.

The three toed box turtles live comfortable in their enclosure. Its a perfect blend of morning light and late evening light. Moist but not wet soil (except when it rains). Lots of bugs around, and supplemental fruit and bugs provided by me.

I think life could only be better if I could put an easy chair inside the box turtle's enclosure so I could enjoy the day in the cool shade with them.