Frankie Tortoise Tales Frankie Tortoise Tails sulcata care tortoise sulcata husbandry Frankie Tortoise Tails Frankie Tortoise Tails: June 2007



June 30, 2007

An ending and a new beginning

This evening, Mattie took a turn for the worse and we ran her down to see Dr. Atlas under emergency conditions. She was struggling and her plastron was turning reddish. During her emergency treatment, she quit breathing and her heart stopped. Dr. Atlas, one of the most competent exotic veterinarians I've ever met, did all he could to resuscitate her. After 10 minutes of work, we finally decided that she could not be brought back.

Greg and I mourn the loss of our little girl and will miss her very much.

When we got home we found that Mama Turtle had laid 4 eggs. They were dug up and I will incubate them inside. Mama proves again to be a great mother and we have four baby turtles to look forward to this fall.

Mattie see Dr. Atlas

Mattie went to see her veterinarian, Dr Atlas, on Friday. He is a very competent veterinarian, still she and her symptoms had him puzzled. On Thursday night, she started to drip red fluid from her nose. That was the first time she showed outward signs of a respiratory illness although the redness was very frightful. Dr Atlas took x-rays of her lungs and they were all clear. More mystery. She would push her head out high and twitch. More mystery. No swelling of the vent as was present last time she was sick a few months ago. So, she is on 4 weeks(!!) of antibiotic shots, once a day. When she got home, she drank a great quantity of water.

This morning she was restless, but at least has moved more today than in the last two weeks. She seems quite exhausted an in need of sleep.

It rained last night, nearly a whole inch, so box turtles and I were able to find lots of snails for their breakfast (I had cereal). Frankie delighted in eating damp grass (which he loves). He found a new toy - an upside down wagon that he can climb over. This is horribly noisy as the wagon is light steel.

If you read this blog, have good thoughts for Mattie as she fights for wellness.

June 26, 2007


With Blogs down for a few days, the possibility that they may never come back or disappear all together was a bit depressing. I had come to enjoy recording all that was going on with the turtles. I am still apprehensive about the final outcome of the blogs.

Mattie has quit eating. I have weighted her so I see if she is loosing weight. I soak her in water with vitamin A. I have also given her vitamin A drops a couple of times. I don't want to overdo the A but I keep thinking it is needed. I got her a vitamin B complex and have given her that once too. She gets soaked daily. Her last bowl movement was about ten days ago (that I know of). I am going to give her a few more days and if I don't see a turn around, back to the vet she goes.

Frankie and all the other turtles are doing great. Coping with the heat.

June 13, 2007

Dry Poop and Orange Plastic

I found the orange plastic piece that Frankie ingested on April 30th! Found it this afternoon while giving Frankie a carrot. It was in a bit of poop that was under the porch. I cleaned that area of poop a few weeks ago so the piece & poop must have past sometime since then. It could very well be that that piece of plastic hung around in his bowels for more than 30 days. Is that really possible?? Regardless of how long it was inside Frankie, I am glad it made its way out.

Frankie spends the long hot part of the day under the patio in an area we dug out for the box turtles (which they never used) and filled with potting soil. I water the area every day or so. The soil is cool for Frankie.

Since it has been hot, I bought the box turtles inside. They spend much of the day walking around the gecko room. I think this is mostly because the gecko room is kept at a comfortable temperature and humidity level that they feel free to move about. Certainly, when it is hot outside, they hide all day. On days when it rains and is cloudy, they move around their enclosure.

June 9, 2007

Not Cute!?

Frankie did not win Cute Pet Contest. I blame it on the photographer. The picture was just not cute. How can someone not take a cute picture of Frankie. Most all photos of him are great.

Rained yesterday helping the yard gain some of its loss moisture. Frankie didn't stay outside in the rain too much as it did come down a bit hard. He was out between downpours. Today it is hot so Frankie can make up any lost basking time.

June 7, 2007

Cute Pet Contest

It rained yesterday making all the turtles very happy. Me too.

Just came back from taking Frankie to PetSmart to enter the Cute Pet Contest. He always makes an impression. Many of the employees know him by name. Customers took photos with their camera phones. Some people remember him from Do Dah Day.

Greg and I always take time to educate people about keeping large tortoises. I am glad that they see sulcata in the adult forms as most people are less likely to run out and buy one. Sort of like seeing a full grown great Dane dog. Being in the presence of a big dog like that helps one to visualize it running amuck in one's house.

Back to Frankie - he weighed 42.2 pounds. I've guess 45 so I was very close. I think he is a sure shot for the Cute Pet Contest. Hope the grand prize isn't a bag of dog food. Useless around here.

Hot and Cloudy

Temperatures going up to the nineties. But, we have partly cloudy skies. Makes it much easier on everyone. The box turtles had the morning to walk around their pen under clouds before the "partly cloudy" started. Doesn't stop Frankie -- he simply waits until later in the evening to get his walking in.

I brought the box turtles indoors yesterday for superworms. They were very hungry. I am still working on the "outdoor" food solution. The boxies just had no problem getting some of their own food in our yard in Oklahoma. Here, with the new construction driving off natural insects and ant attraction to food, I continue to have problems getting other insects to hang around.

I hear that other sulcata owners catch their sulcata napping during the day. I have never seen Frankie, except on a very rare occasion, nap during the day. He sits and watches the going ons in the back yard.