Frankie Tortoise Tales Frankie Tortoise Tails sulcata care tortoise sulcata husbandry Frankie Tortoise Tails Frankie Tortoise Tails: 2006



December 30, 2006

Sleeping In

It is Saturday and apparently all are choosing to sleep in. I got up at 9:00. Greg didn't get up until 11:00. Frankie the sulcata (three years going on four) was really sleeping in. I checked him periodically all day and still he did not get out of his box. He didn't even turn around from his "head against the wall" sleeping position. At 3:00 pm, I wondered if something was wrong.

I went and poked him gently on his back foot and there was just a little response. I decided that I better turn him around and see if anything was wrong. I did get him to turn around (no cooperation from him) and sat him on his heat pad. He was sleepy but seemed okay. I went back at 3:45 and he was snoozing. Was there something wrong? I was fearing that Frankie had eaten something he shouldn't and was lethargic. I decided to try a food test.

I cut up 1/2 of an apple and offered it to him. To my relief, he got up and ate it. It is now 4:15 p.m. which is past Frankie's normal bedtime. After sleeping all day will he just go back to sleep or stay up for a while? I water the geckos at 5:00 pm so I can check again on him. I am a bit worried still. Hopefully, tomorrow will bring back his old spirit and he will be charging about the gecko room, knocking things over.

December 27, 2006

Frankie's Trip Out

It is officially winter! Frankie made his first trip to Petsmart because it is too cold to go outside. He was remarkably good in the Prius. He didn't wander around and try to climb over the seats. It’s as if he knew he was going on a trip to somewhere fun.

Of course, people made a fuss over him at the store. There were lots of picture-taking. He walked from the front of the store to the back of the store (where I picked up cat food & litter for our cats) and then back to the cash register. He behaves much better, rarely trying to get under shelves or trying to eat things that are close to the floor. I let a couple of people give him dog treats. A little protein will not hurt him.

On the trip home, he was a little more restless. He wanted to get under something: wanted a nap. He got home and did go directly to his sleeping box for a rest.

For Christmas, he got a fruit salad made of berries, apples and bannans. I don't look forward to the poop in the next week. It will be a bit more runny than normal.

Today, although cold, it is sunny enough to let him go outside for a little while to graze.

December 15, 2006

Christmas Preparations & Sun Changes

The sun has moved into such a position that the box turtle's outdoor pen is in the shade until the afternoon. This means that Mattie can't go outside but for a few hours in the afternoon, from about 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. She is waiting in our living room and sitting in a bowl of water.

I am thinking of buying some wax worms for the turtles for their Christmas treat. The alternative is to put together a delicious fruit salad. I may have to do that anyway since Frankie and Mattie don't eat wax worms (actually, when Frankie was less than two years old he did eat wax worms occasionally).

December 7, 2006


Tonight we are expecting our first temperatures in the teens. Luckily, Frankie stays inside at night. Today he is outside, temperatures in the 50's, grazing.

The box turtles are just lazy. They don't do much of anything (except look cute). I have them an open area to stretch out and walk around and they choose to sit there. Two hours later, I put them back in their enclosure.

I have heard from others that sulcata are so expensive to keep. I don't spend but five or six dollars monthly, and this is mostly on snacks, cuttlebone and vitamins. Frankie exists solely on the grass and weeds in our yard. Even with colder temperatures, there is still plenty of greens in his yard to satisfy him. In the next few days when temperatures will be too cold for him to go outside during the day, I plan to cut up a couple of pumpkins that I collected from neighbors. By next week, temperatures will be high enough again for him to go back outside to graze during the day.

November 28, 2006

A Quick Clip

Frankie got a beak trim. His front top beak was uneven, one side was much longer than the other by about an eight of an inch which in turtle beaks I would think is significant. He probably chipped it on some food but I cannot remember when this could be as he has had this problem for longer than I can remember. I have been hesitant to do anything being afraid that I would cause it to break even worse than it already is.

I gave in and got a tool that looks like a hoof clipper only smaller. It fit perfectly under his beak. I clipped it so quickly that Frankie had no time to object. It came off just right, so that the beak is even again. He seems to eat much easier. Food items don't get hung up on the longer beak as before. He looks good.

November 18, 2006


The weather has been so unpredictable that Frankie goes inside one day because it is cold and overcast and he goes outside the next day because it is warm and sunny. This inconstant weather is nutty. Global warming, Greg says.

Frankie walks into the house all by himself which is very helpful, but I have not been able (or I am just not patience) to teach him to walk outside to the backyard by himself. He will exit the gecko room into the garage and then exit onto the car port but from there he cannot figure out (or wants) to go into the backyard. So, I have to pick him up and carry him. This is beginning to cause pain in my right hand, specifically the fingers where the weight of Frankie comes down greatest.

Greg is still progressing on the outdoor enclosure. It isn't build but today we are going to pick up a second hot water heater. That is a step in the process.

The box turtles seem to be content in their indoor enclosure. They don't do much. They seem to do nothing but wait for the next feeding. What a life. The most active is Bama who can't manage to leave the girls alone. He pesters the three girls continuously. I have taken to putting him into his own smaller container except during feedings. I think the girls appreciate it.

October 30, 2006

Sprinting into Fall

For a fair weather state as Alabama should be, we 've had some very cold nights. All turtles came inside. Frankie is back inside for nights and outside if temperatures are above 60 and there is sunlight outside. The box turtles are all inside for the winter. I will not try to put them under ground for the winter. For Mattie, the madagascariensis spider tortoise, she got a new "above carpet" enclosure so that she can be warm and not have to sit on the cold ground.

The box turtles are in a plastic container with straw and are sitting under some great fluorescent lights. They get water every day to every other day (about five times per week) and are fed every other day. Of course, they will not eat vegetables and I will not torture myself this winter trying to force veggies on them. What makes them happy, makes me happy.

Greg continues to make headway on the solar panels. He wired them over the weekend. I whacked myself really good on one them outside. I have this big red "v" on my forehead where I came in contact with the solar rack. At the time, I couldn't decide if I wanted to pass out, throw up or kick the panel. I settled for lots of head-holding and wailing. I can already tell that this will not be the last time I will whack myself on these potentially lethal items. Maybe I should put a safety fence around them -- to protect me.

October 12, 2006

Dream of Brown Eyes

Frankie's hole was filled in but he kept going to it to try digging it out. I put cinder blocks all around it to stop him. Still he tries. I put more cinder blocks around his hole. Then I went out of town for five days. While I was gone, he continued to try to get to his hole. He may never quit.

Moving the cinder blocks was done without realizing that some of the blocks were keeping the box turtle enclosure intact. Mama turtle had dug a hole near the area where a cinder block was. Yesterday I had rounded all the box turtles together for a little water. When they left the water, Brown Eyes went up toward the yet unseen hole. Last night when I went to check everyone because the temperatures were going to be cold, I found the hole but could not find Brown Eyes. As far as I could tell, she had escaped into the back yard. At 11:00 pm, no light and a very large yard to search, I felt all was lost. I could hardly sleep for worrying about Brown Eyes and never seeing her again.

This morning, I got gloves and a rake and begin to go over the wooded area of the yard in search of Brown Eyes. After an hour of looking, I went back into the box turtle enclosure to put the turtles into water (it had warmed up enough). To my surprise, I found Brown Eyes. She was near her regular area but had dug in a bit so I overlooked her last night.

All is back to normal. I must work on soil for the box turtles as they crave digging and cannot. Now that the night temperatures are heading toward the 40's, soil to dig in is a priority.

September 26, 2006


Frankie's hole, which he seemed to have abandoned, became active again today. The hole became large enough for Frankie to get in completely and turn around. So, it is time to fill in the hole. I think I will give Frankie back his slide. I think his digging is related to being bored.

September 22, 2006

Breakfast with Turtles

Last night we had temperatures down in the 40's. After going to bed I just couldn't stop thinking about the turtles so I got up and went outside and brought them in for the night. Good thing since most were not underground.

This morning I woke up to a warm basket full of turtles. For breakfast, I served a very over ripe apricot (that went very well with Mama turtle and Big Turtle) and cat food (always a favorite with Brown Eyes). Bama had a bit of both.

It seems that Mama Turtle knows that fall is here and is eating more and more. She is trying to store up food for the winter. Since Big Turtle never goes under for the winter, she could care less about stocking up. I couldn't tell what Brown Eyes was thinking, she just loves cat food. Bama is just his same "skirt chasing" self, more interested in females standing still than in food.

I got them a bale of hay for tonight so they can settle into something nice and warm.

Frankie got a heater make-over. His heater was elevated so that it is over his head instead of underneath him. Think I have some adjustments to yet make. We'll see how he does tonight. He also got hay.

September 16, 2006

Missing my little babies

Crunch and Munch were adopted out yesterday to a very nice young lady from Georgia. I am sure they are going to a very loving, caring family. Their new mom promised she would post about them on the forum so I am keeping my eye out. Perhaps I will still see them grow up.

The school presentation went very well. Frankie simply walked around the room the entire time. He really enjoys obstacles so going around and under chairs was simply delightful.

September 14, 2006

Back to School

I am preparing to take geckos, lizards and turtles to Oak Mountain Classical School. This is the second such visit to an elementary school since the article. Had I forgot to mention the article? Greg and I and geckos were photographed and interviewed for an article that came out in the Birmingham News on September 13th. The article, which had great photos, focused on the geckos. Since the article, I have had several phone calls including two from schools that want a reptile presentation. So, back to turtles, I am taking lizards, geckos and turtles to show the first graders.

Hopefully it goes well.

September 9, 2006

One Bigger

Crunch, the baby three toed turtle, is getting bigger than Munch, its sibling. I started feeding them separately in case Crunch was eating everything. Now I find that Munch is just not feeding as much. Munch leaves worms uneaten. Crunch, on the other hand, eats a lot.

...and the hole gets even bigger. He just dug through a large root. If Frankie would take directions, I could have him dig me a garden.

Hole, continued

And the hole gets bigger.

September 1, 2006

And So It Begins

I went out to check on Frankie only to see him digging a hole in the yard.

And so it begins.

This is his first attempt at a hole since we moved here around three years ago. Since the yard is almost pure hard Alabama clay, I expected he could not dig far and up to now I was correct.

Over the last three years, I've tried hard to get organic material into the yard so we could have a lawn for Frankie to graze over. First year, it was all weeds, barely growing. Last year, clover successfully bloomed everywhere. This year I have a lawn. Apparently enough organic material is now in place that there is a layer of soil, just enough that Frankie can begin to dig. Everything that I've been told about owning a large sulcata is eventually becoming true, so buyers beware. Experienced sulcata keepers tell no "tails".
Image Reduced

August 30, 2006

All is Well, Rain and All

Our budget is a bit tight right now so we haven't done much more than install the solar panel. We are saving up for the foam insulated panels that the enclosure will be made of. Weather, although wet, is still fine for Frankie and his summer house will probably be okay through October.

Rain comes and goes, sometimes coming pretty hard. When the rain is heavy, I still bring all the box turtles inside. The boxies get so agitated as if they think they will drown in the heavy rains. Just to keep them calm and happy, inside they go.

Crunch and Munch get adopted out in about a week. Until then I am keeping them fed and watered and snug as bugs in their nice humid enclosure. Tomorrow it will be time for them to get outside for a little while.

August 20, 2006

Frankie Goes Solar

Greg is on the first stage of getting Frankie's winter house ready. His design includes solar heated water tanks to heat the house. Greg had the solar panels already. He just bought the frame for the panels and a 10' pole to sink in the ground. This weekend was spent mounting the solar panels on the frame and digging the hole (which was slowed down by the presence of ground wasps in the area).

Here is the plans for the house:

The solar panels are located in front of the house.
The area inside the enclosure that has a circle is the main area where Frankie will sleep, etc.
The two rectangular boxes within the main area is where the two collection tanks will be.
Of course, the house will be made from foam insulated concrete.

Here are four of six solar panels mounted ready to put on the pole:

Our goal is to have this all finished by November.

Aug 26 2006, 01:55 PM Solar panel installed
Frankie's solar panel is installed and ready for the next phase -- the hook up to 12 volt hot water heater. Of course, installing Frankie's winter home is really what we need to do next.

Other than that, all is well with turtles. Crunch and Munch are being adopted out to a Turtletimes Forum member. The adoption will probably take place in a couple of weeks.

August 17, 2006

A Little Bit Much Love

Frankie has, after six years, learned to respond very well when I call him. I have made it a point to call him and say "snack" or "carrot" when the call involves food. He usually can clearly see that I have a treat. However, he does come, when he darn well wants to, when I call him to me.

Today, I called him for a "snack" by saying so and saying "carrot". He responded and approached me and I gave him a handful of cut up carrots. As he was occupied with the carrots, I decided to clean out his house which was just a couple of feet where he was eating. While I was leaned over the house picking up "poop" I felt a nudge on my leg. Frankie had come over and gotten so close to me that he was in contact with me with his front carapace. Was he simply curious about what I was doing, or was he being aggressive? He still had carrots that were uneaten. Did he abandon them just to nudge me? As I moved away with my bucket of "poop" (into the compost pile), he went back to his carrots.

I've only heard of one male sulcata who rammed humans. Is this more common than this one situation? Was Frankie ramming me? Not a wanted behavior. Will post this on the forum for in put.

August 9, 2006

Home Again

I am home again. Yeah! Missed everyone so much. Frankie and the turtle gang all did well under Greg's care. It didn't rain one bit yet Greg kept all the turtles with water as needed. Frankie's pool was kept clean. Greg did well.

Macy did very well with Crunch and Munch, the two newly hatched box turtles. She enjoyed her responsibilities. She went as far as asking her Daddy to drive over to a friends house to find more rolly polly bugs

Greg and I were interviewed by the Birmingham Newspaper yesterday. The paper is planning to publish a story about us possibly this Sunday. The story is about our geckos but I made sure they knew about my turtles, too.

August 3, 2006

Far Away From Home

I am not in Alabama, I am back in Oklahoma. My mother had surgery and I was needed to care for her in recovery. For the first couple of days I was totally concentrated on Mom and hadn't thought at all about Frankie, Crunch & Munch, the rest of the turtles, Zooter and the geckos (I did think of Greg a lot ). However, I started thinking of them today (Frankie first) and wondering how they were doing. Greg, who got me into this whole reptile business (I got into turtles all by myself) is as good a caretaker as I am, so I really have nothing to be concerned about. He has fewer hours to do his gecko and turtle chores than I did -- he works fifty hours weekly (if not more). My job was the reptiles.

Crunch and Munch, the two newly hatched three-toes turtles, were farmed out to my very proficient assistant, Macy, who was very excited to be in charge of the two. Macy is just a grade-schoolers, but trained well in the needs of turtles and geckos. With supervision, I believe she will do a great job. The only limits I really had to give Macy was holding baby turtles was limited to 10 minutes per day. I believe she will do very well as "Head Turtle Keeper".

Would say more about how much I miss everyone but it is time to get to the hospital to see Mom and maybe take her home today.

July 16, 2006


It’s been very hot here so I've kept the box turtles and the pyxis inside. Frankie is outside but spends most of the day brumating. In the evening, he comes out and eats.

June 29, 2006

Fence Work

The morning was spent putting up 15" blinds on the chain link fence where Frankie tends to push against trying to get out. He has injured on of this front feet so action was taken. Fabric weed block was folded in half length-wise and mounted it to the bottom of the chain link fence. Tie wraps to secure the fabric to the fence.

A two week experiment with a short length of this fabric showed that Frankie would not try to paw his way out in the area where the fabric was put up. I hope to see this with all Frankie's chain link fence. Eventually, a dense evergreen hedge will be planted to block his view.

June 26, 2006

Munch and Crunch

The two new additions are doing very well. They have not eaten their first meal (as far as I can tell) but I have put in pill box bugs and snails in their enclosure should they feel the urge. I give them daily soakings in a plant saucer which they can get out themselves. They have gotten out twice in the sun which they absolutely hate to do. How do these baby turtles get UV light if they hide all the time? Sun reflections?

It has rained enough that two of the box turtles have buried themselves in mud up to their heads. They look like big worms as I cannot see any shell -- just mud.

Frankie got new cuttlebone. He promptly ate the one I put out within ten hours. And, this is the big 16" cuttlebones, not the small cuttlebone that you put in with birds.

Mattie had some cactus, ordered with the cuttlebone, and really enjoyed it. The box turtles ignored the cactus. Frankie ate his.

June 24, 2006

Relief from the heat

After a week of very hot weather, rain brought the temperatures to more tolerable levels. Even Frankie the sulcata was distressed by the heat. I have been more aware of his reaction to increased temperatures since Do Dah Days when he overheated.

After multiple suggestions on ways to help Frankie, I have settled on a kid's pool. I have not seen him drink from it, or really use it to cool down, but he has access to cool water when he needs it. The pool has lots of water due to heavy rains last night.

I continue to take the rest of the turtles to water daily just to be sure that they are getting hydration. This morning I let them use Frankie's pool since the water was so deep. I supervise so that no one gets into trouble, but they did just fine and headed to the cut out opening when they were finished swimming and drinking.

June 17, 2006

Water Works

There has been little rain here. We were lucky to get a soaking rain once last week - most of Alabama missed out. With it so hot, I've made sure that the turtles all get water via my putting them directly in a shallow pool of water everyday.

I got Frankie a children's pool, 48" pool from Wal-mart, one side cut out for entry. He understands how to get inside but at this point the pool is a playtoy to him. No problem, as long as he has water available to him.

I fed Frankie some watermelon which caused him, apparently, to urinate daily for ten days. Although I have been told that watermelon for an occasional treat is okay, I think after this ordeal, I will not give him watermelon.

Frankie is back to walking on his "treadmill", the plastic lid that I have sitting on a slanted part of the yard.

June 9, 2006

Early Summer Days for Turtles

I spend entirely too much time with the turtles & geckos and don't pay attention to my blog. Its been very warm here in Alabama. I go out each morning to give the box turtles fresh water. Just to be sure they are getting their hydration needs met, I put each one in a water dish every morning. Besides the turtles using the water dishes, so do neighboring squirrels, chipmunks and birds. Daily cleaning is necessary.

Frankie is out of his house, most of the time, before I check on turtles first thing in the morning. His first trek is straight through the wooded area of the yard and to the back area for fresh grass. Once he has a morning snack, and before it gets too hot, Frankie starts his trek around the yard - walk, walk, walk, walk. During the hot afternoon, he sits under the stairs keeping cool. By late afternoon as the sun casts shadows in the backyard, Frankie heads out to graze again.

I am thinking of buying him a plastic kid-pool so that he can cool off in water. Use to have a small pool for the box turtles but it has long since fallen apart. Guess it is time for a new one. Even if Frankie decides he doesn't like it, the boxies will.

May 21, 2006

Frankie's week

Frankie had a wonderful week. Thursday he went to the Leeds Elementary School for Career Day - he was an example of reptiles kept by a Herptoculturist. We got to the school at 11:30 am, went to the library, took Frankie out of his tub and let me start to walk. Frankie walked around the library the whole entire time that we were there - until 2:30 pm. He loved all the obstacles: under tables, around chairs, down one aisle and up another isle, under displays, and finally, around all the students that attended my talk. Frankie did not stop for a second. The students loved him.

On Saturday, Frankie went to Do Dah Day. Do Dah Day is a long standing Birmingham festival celebrating pets and a fundraiser for local animal organizations. The event starts with a parade. I figured that Frankie, being such a walking fool, would do very well. People really loved him. He started at the very front of the parade, and of course, by the time we got to the end of the parade route, Frankie was at the very end of the parade. Frankie got a bit hot and tired and really didn't want to finish the parade but we took a wagon and Frankie treats so he could ride for a while. On the cart we gave him corn on the cob, his favorite snack, to keep him quite.

Frankie had great fun and lots of exercise.

May 2, 2006

The Daily Poop

Frankie, without fail, defecates every morning in his sleeping quarters, that being his outdoor enclose or indoor box, basically anywhere he is, first thing in the morning. Since he digs nightly all the newspapers that I put into his indoor enclosure, sometimes there is no newspaper in the spot that he poops. He soils the box which means that even after I clean up the poop, the box will smell.

In his outdoor enclosure, if he is out for the night, I find a fresh pile of poop first thing in the morning. I wait until he exits his enclosure so that I can remove the poop. My box turtles never behaved like this.

Wish he would do his do in the yard where we would love the fertilizer.

April 5, 2006

Yard Wanderings

Of course I have not added anything to my blog - the turtles and I have been outside!!! Almost every day has been warm enough for all the turtles, sulcata & box & spider, to go outside. Frankie is so happy. He spends so much of the day just walking around his very big back yard.

I have put up a temporary fence within the yard that basically triples the space for the box turtles. No longer are they confined to under the patio, but now they have open grassy area. They hardly go under the patio anymore.

Mattie goes into the box turtle area. While the box turtles are cozy up under straw, leaves or such, Mattie is out in the open basking and eating clover. She also delights in her new area. No more big Frankie to walk over her.

I have been cleaning the area in the yard that had remained untouched during construction. There are so many bushes, trees, vines, etc. that one can hardly walk through. My goal is to have it cleaned out enough to allow Frankie to safely pass through without getting caught up.

Oh, there are wild blackberry bushes. They do have thorns, but they put out an abundant amount of berries that the turtles love. Keeping those for the turtles.

March 9, 2006

Guess what the rain brought up!

No sign at all on Mattie's whereabouts since Tuesday. I spent most of today and yesterday putting out "Lost Turtle & Reward" signs all over the neighborhood, veterinarian offices in the area, school area bus stops, and the police station. The weather had been above 50 degrees each night that she was out, but tonight we were expecting big storms, temperature drops, winds and rain. That was good and bad news. If the storm forced Mattie out of hiding, then I figured that maybe I would find her. If I could not find her, that meant illness for sure. If the weather got too bad then I could not get out to look.

The storm was pretty bad -- 50 mph winds with heavy rains that only Alabama can produce. Electricity in the house went out at 6:00 p.m. Things got a little better at 7:00 or so, so I put on boots, a rain slicker and went out looking for her. In the last place I expected her - our backyard where she should not have gotten into -- she was standing out in the rain by the trees, in the open. She was so cold to the touch. I ran her inside to Greg, who was ecstatic, and he warmed her up in his hands.

She is back home in time for the first hibiscus flower of the season.

March 8, 2006

Missing Tortoise

I regret to say that Mattie, our Madagascar Spider Tortoise, is missing.

She went outside yesterday to sun and eat grass around 11:00 in the morning. At 3:00 in the afternoon, when I went to fetch her and Frankie, Mattie was not in her area.

Her area seemed secure but I found a depression under a fence where rain may have eroded an area that she could have gotten out. It is possible that dogs or a person found her and removed her although, while inside the house, I didn't hear any commotion (the neighbor's dogs go nuts if any stay dogs run around the neighborhood).

Greg came home early from work and we search for her until dark. Found nothing. This morning I searched the garage in the unlikely even that she leapt from top of her brick wall and crawled into the garage (we are thinking of any possibility). I have made up "lost" posters and will begin canvassing the neighborhood in hope that more eyes may spot her somewhere.

Last year this time, Frankie was lost and on day two we got a call due to our "Lost & Reward" posters. He was found miles away where a good Samaritan thought such a big turtle (sulcata) need to live near a big pond.

Mattie is so much smaller at 7 inches, but we are hopeful.

February 20, 2006

Hot or Not

Frankie is resisting my attempts to bring him to the higher end of his optimal temperature range -- which Dr. Atlas says is about 95. To get that much heat requires lots of effort and energy! In my attempts to get that hot temperature I am using two basking lights, two thermal pads, lots on insulation, and a server (computer sits next to Frankie's box and it put out lots of heat), I am just eeking up to that top temperature and Frankie decides its too hot for him (really I haven't even got the heat to 93) and he leaves the basking area, goes into the gecko room and sits on the cold cement -- I have taken to moving his basking lights every time he does this. He also goes into his box after I have taken out the heat pads (so he can bask under the lights). To combat this, I am aiming his basking light into the box (he is never alone when the light is positioned just so as I do not want to burn down the house). Still he leaves the warmth and wanders into the gecko room to find a nice cool area to sit.

Long before Frankie came into my life, a good turtle friend of mine told me that when I finally did get a sulcata that I would want to avoid having it come down with a cold, that they were difficult to get rid of. Its all very true, and Frankie is only in the beginning stages of a cold. I can't imagine if he had a respiratory infection and required shots too.

February 15, 2006

Dr Atlas & Frankie

The consequences of Frankie's confinement while I was out of town has shown its ugly head...or should I say eyes. His eyes were so terribly watery yesterday, as if he were crying, I made an appointment to see Dr. Atlas.

Dr. Atlas and I had other things to talk about, mainly six leopard geckos that I am fostering from Hurricane Katrina, but I took the opportunity to get Frankie taken care of quickly.

I put down the back seat of our pick-up, put down a bed liner, brought Frankie out along with a Frankie-accident towel, loaded the little-red-wagon and set off for a twenty minute ride to Riverview Animal Clinic (also on 280 past PetSmart). Frankie must not have been feeling all that great as he settled down quickly in the back seat rather than wander around.

Dr. Atlas agreed that I had caught the "cold" early before it advanced into a respiratory infection -- a rather difficult trial for big sulcata to overcome. Frankie got Terramycin for his eyes and directions to up his temperature during his sleep. (And, Frankie weighed in at 34.2 pounds)

Greg put both of the pig blankets on the bottom of Frankie's box, added insulation foam around the sides, slid a piece of plastic insulation below the box and put Frankie in for the night.

When I went down this morning, Frankie wide awake waiting at the box front, ready for his breakfast. It is a wonder what eight hours sleep in the upper range of a Sulcata's optimal temperature range will do for a turtle. He is already gone for a walk around the gecko room and is just now coming back inside the office to finish his breakfast.

February 11, 2006

Frankie Visits Petsmart

I finally got home at the end of January! I did miss my husband most of all, but I really missed Frankie and the other turtles (I did miss the geckos but certainly not like I missed my turtles, but I did worry if they were okay. Greg did a great job).

Poor Frankie hadn't gotten to go outside the whole time I was gone. The first week back I was only able to get him out just a little while because the temperature and the sun were never both high enough or out enough for Frankie to be comfortable outside. Only one thing left to do -- take him to my local PetSmart for a walk.

Now, my local PetSmart (on state highway 280 in Inverness, a Birmingham suburb), where I get cat food and litter, and some of my reptile supplies (never live animals), Frankie has visited once before. I first went in and asked permission first, Frankie being a very large turtle, in case they would not think it okay. Well, Frankie was more than welcome. Everyone, employees and customers alike, took out cell phones and took photos to send to their friends. Frankie did pretty good, although he tried to walk under the shelves several times.

This trip I believe Frankie knew where he was! He knew that he could walk down each isle and up to the front and back to the rear of the store. He was very good and never try to chew on anything, but I had brought some dandelions just in case -- he was much more interested in walking around. Mary, one of the employees, was especially happy to see Frankie again. Her husband stopped by while he was there and related that Mary had told him about Frankie's first visit to the store.

We were there about thirty minutes, scaring little dogs (oh, yes, there was a little dog that nearly peed at the site of Frankie) and thrilling kids, before we left. When Frankie got home he was ready to go to bed for the day. Great exercise and nice to get out!

February 2, 2006

Everyone in the Sun

Frankie is doing only a little better with his eyes but the good news is the temperature is in the 70's and Frankie is very happy to be outside basking and eating. Mattie the spider tortoise is also outside and she is spending her time basking...I have seen very little eating.

The box turtles are getting to bask, but they are basking under Frankie's basking lights indoors. They are enjoying it completely. They act as if they have not had warmth in months (which they haven't really had enough). The turtles are spending so much time under the basking lights that I continually go over and touch their shells to make sure they are not hot to the touch. Apparently they just want to really soak in the heat.

January 12, 2006

New Year Turtles

I am very far away from home right now and missing my turtles a lot. Greg is at home taking care of everyone. I had finally gotten some of the box turtles to eat some vegetables but regretfully Greg has to feed them superworms while I am away (easier for Greg). Greg told me that when he got home last night that Frankie the sulcata had peed and pooped on the floor and then walked through it all day. I am guessing that means that the gecko room floor was quite filthy. That was more than probably since Frankie cannot be outside all day in cold weather. At least Greg can appreciate how much work involved with the turtles & geckos each day - not that he doesn't already appreciate it already but this is a reminder how wonderful I am to take on the task myself.

Still, I miss the turtles, especially Frankie.