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February 8, 2009

A Sulcata's Perfect Day

So what does a sulcata think is a perfect day? Well, Frankie clued me in to his idea of a perfect sulcata day. And he should know because today he had a perfect sulcata day.

His perfect day started the night before. Frankie was tucked into his newly cleaned "cave" in the gecko room. Newspaper was crumpled around him like a blanket and he sat on his nice and warm thermal pad. Frankie was dreaming tortoise dreams of endless green grass fields and buckets of carrots when I came in the room about 10:00 pm to check on him and all the geckos. Now most tortoise or people would consider being waken late at night to be a bummer but for Frankie it's a treat because he gets a carrot. A carrot is just the right late night snack to make any sulcata sleep like a tortoise.

As I left turning out the lights behind me, Frankie returned to tortoise dreams until the gecko room lights come on about 7:45 am. As the lights come on so does Frankie's overhead ceramic heater. Frankie gets up and moves under his ceramic heater and waits for me to come downstairs to water the geckos.

When I finally get down to the gecko room about 8:30 am Frankie gets the biggest surprise of the day: the temperature outside is already a sunny 50º F. No breakfast of hay this morning, Frankie gets to head straight outdoors. After weeks and weeks of dreary cold, a warm sunny day can transform a grumpy tortoise into a "tip toe through the tulips" happy Frankie.

Frankie is greeted by an unbelievably wonderful morning. The sun is out in full and the temperature is perfect for a hour bask in the sun. Frankie picks his very favorite basking site under a very tall pine tree and next to Greg's weather station. Frankie spreads his back feet out from under his shell and stretches his front feet out in front of him. Frankie is truly a sun worshiper!

Following his hour long bask in the sun, Frankie is toasty but not hot. He starts his walkabout around the yard. Finely it is time to do some serious grazing. There is plenty of winter grasses and weeds in the yard so Frankie feasts. For the rest of the afternoon Frankie alternates between grazing, basking and walking. Since the temperature doesn't pass 69º F Frankie never overheats nor is he too cold to be a busy sulcata.

I too take some time to go outside and walk around the yard with Frankie. This is my daily task to check for hazards which I find none. Frankie appreciates the company. After I leave Frankie selects another fine basking spot and sits until shade passes over him.

Shade is Frankie's cue that its time to head for the house. He moises across the lawn eating all the weeds and grass that cross his path. By the time he is at the back gate I am there to lead him back inside into the gecko room.

With no complaint or fuss, Frankie walks the trail from the back yard, through the driveway, into the garage and back into the gecko room. His nice comfy "cave" awaits. His heat pad is already warm. Frankie digs his way through the tall pile of crumpled newspaper. His butt does not quite get covered so I do the honors tucking him in for the night.

Frankie is asleep immediately dreaming of his perfect sulcata day.

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