Frankie Tortoise Tales Frankie Tortoise Tails sulcata care tortoise sulcata husbandry Frankie Tortoise Tails Frankie Tortoise Tails: March 2010



March 30, 2010

Annual Check Up, Part I

Spring is time for Frankie's annual check up. Lucky for me, I just got paid by Reptiles Magazine for the article on Gold Dust day geckos. My budget is $250. I am hoping for $150. A girl can hope can't she?

Knowing I cannot pick Frankie up anymore I had to think up some devious scheme on how to get him there. The perfect opportunity came up when Greg told me he was taking Friday off from work. Greg can lift Frankie! I have a solution.

Even before I ask Greg, I scheduled Frankie's veterinarian appointment for the Friday that Greg is taking off of work - is this bad? Already having the appointment set is all the leverage I have: "But Greg, I already have an appointment."

Greg thought Frankie's 10:00 a.m. appointment especially inconvenient since he wanted to sleep in. Gads! Isn't sleeping past 7:00 a.m. sleeping in? Far as Greg is concerned, sleeping until 10:00 a.m. is sleeping in. Anything less is waking up on time or just not enough sleep. Go figure. Greg never gives me an answer so as Friday gets closer I am just hoping Greg will be there.

On Friday morning at 7:00 a.m., I get up by myself. No sign of Greg. Just in case getting Frankie there is totally up to me, I consider how to get Frankie in the car by myself.

Frankie is 65 pounds so I figured I was good for one good Frankie lift. One only. After that my back would be totally blown. Once I got him in the car I would ask someone in the veterinarian clinic help me get him out of the car and back in the car. Getting Frankie out of the car isn't all that difficult: aiming a 65 pound falling sulcata away from toes is difficult.

At 8:50 a.m. I hear signs of life upstairs - Greg is in the shower. He is going to cut it close. And at 9:15 a.m. Greg is ready to go. It is looking good. Really, it's not the human's that I have to worry about, we can cut a minute or two to get caught up, it's Frankie. It is going to take him five minutes to walk from the gecko room into the garage - fire under his sulcata tail or not. With luck, we roll out of the garage, Frankie in car, and head out.

On the way I suggest that Greg stop by Starbucks to get a Cappuccino. I figured he deserved Starbucks for his efforts to get up and to be ready to go at the very last moment.

Frankie is asleep in the back of the car....he never fully wakes before 10:00 a.m., if he can help it. He never even notices the stop by Starbucks.

We got to Riverview Animal Clinic at 10:00 a.m. on the nose. Greg unloaded Frankie while I dashed in to assure the staff that Frankie will be there in 10 minutes. You heard me - 10 minutes for Frankie to walk from car into clinic into reception area.

Riverview Animal Clinic has an excellent Exotic Practice and one of the best turtle veterinarians in the Southern U.S.: Dr. Alvin Atlas. At the reception desk I check in with the clerk. Dr. Atlas is seeing Frankie today for his annual visit. We want to include a fecal float, x-rays and a reptile blood panel.

By the time I get paperwork sorted, Frankie has arrived at the desk. The staff ushered us into an examination room immediately because they knows Frankie will tear up the front waiting area, terrorize the cats waiting for adoption, and challenge obnoxious dogs.

Up next: look at poop and a look inside.

March 28, 2010

E-VET-ful Event


Went for his annual physical
Got x-rays
No bladder stones
Bones of steel!

Frankie had a fecal float
Frankie has nematodes
Dr. Atlas says take Frankie off the cat poop diet

Anything else? Dr. Atlas asks.
Wish we could get a micro chip but they are too expensive
Guess what?
Price went way, way down!

$50 got a Frankie super conductor
artificial intelligence
Intel Inside
Gig of Gigabytes
micro chip!

Will there be a Frankie Tortoise Tail about this?

You bet
- it may have to be a blog "mini-series"
So much happen!

March 24, 2010

20,000 Visitors

Within the week, Frankie Tortoise Tails will have its 20,000 visitor on Turtle Times. Besides here, Frankie's Tortoise Tails are read at Sulcata Station's Yahoo Group, The Arizona Sulcata Group and Turtle Rescue of Long Island Group.

I regularly get input from many of his fans but this is an brief opportunity to poll from more readers.

Take a look and participate.

Thanks for reading Frankie Tortoise Tails.

March 21, 2010

Normal but Noteworthy

Apparently there is something as ordinary in Frankie's life -- like the last week or so since the last blog entry. Frankie has been....well like the ordinary Frankie!

While inside, I get the usual Frankie messes. I did get one huge drag-it-ALL-across-the-floor-so- mom-can-follow-the-trail last week: mop up, messy poop, soaked hay, newspaper everywhere, and relocated cricket containers. Not so unusual and not unexpected. While Frankie is inside, my hope is for smaller messes. I can hope!

With volatile changing weather, Frankie did get some really nice days outside. Since none of the days travels far into the '70s temperature wise, Frankie spend a great deal of time cruising the backyard, basking at will, seeking the few new green grass spots to graze and even discovering new dandelions blooming in the yard.

Frankie did get bitterly disappointed for cold or over cast or raining days. Depending on his mood, he will accept not going outside or throw a tantrum and re-arrange the gecko room.

When the opportunity happened, Frankie obediently takes the course from gecko room to backyard without too much prompting. He even by-passed basking by the garage door forcing me to leave the backdoor open. No basking by garage - no back door open - no police visits.

When evening arrived, Frankie obedient walks the path from the back yard, through the garage and into his indoor Dogloo. He's been sleeping from 4:30 pm to 8:00 am and some days sleeping in a little later.

Don't think for one second that Frankie has not grown up to be boring in the least bit. One of the most relaxing activities I have is watching him skulk around the backyard. Someday I am going to get the perfect lounger chair so I can sit back and just enjoy him enjoying his yard. Having some stressful events in my life right now, life calls for a Frankie Watch.

And one more note: I got my payment for the article in Reptiles Magazine. After looking at it for several days debating on how to spend it (all my credit cards are paid off), I decided I will use it to take Frankie for his annual physical and pay for an x-ray to check for bladder stones or any signs of abnormal calcification. This will be his first x-rays.

Just FYI: An annual veterinarian examination for tortoises should include a standard DV x-ray, reptile panel, and fecal float (thanks, Suzi!) . Frankie gets the whole nine-yards.

March 8, 2010

Is There Such a Thing As Ordinary?

Somedays are just ordinary days for Frankie. Today looks like one of those days. For the first time this year, we are expecting a sunny day with temperatures to hit 70 degrees - perfect Frankie and sulcata tortoise weather.

Already at 9:00 am, it's 54 degrees and full sun. Idea Frankie and sulcata tortoise basking conditions.

Right now, Frankie is awake in his Dogloo downstairs in the gecko room. He is warm and toasty. He has been awake since 7:00 am but in no hurry to move at all. He is slow to wake....but once he gets a hint at the fabulous day outside....well!

At the first invitation he will dash outdoors to start a serious sulcata tan followed by hours of the sulcata waltz: step, two, three, graze, step, two, three, graze. Although there is hardly any thing green to eat except a few sprigs of hardy winter grass, there is lots of winter dried grass blades still rooted to the ground, Frankie will cover every inch of the backyard in order to fill his tortoise tummy.

Lucky for him, the few warm March days have encouraged the hardest of spring weeds to peek out and he will come across a dozen lovely dandelions. In his brown yard, they stand out like bright neon bug lights in a row of white bulbs. Frankie will not miss a single dandelion.

The time is ticking closer to the moment when I will release the beast on the waiting day. He has the routine down pat: the gecko room door opens, I pat the signal "come on, Frankie" on my leg and he will look out to a glowing light shining through the garage that hints of a good day. With great hope in his heart, he will get up from his Dogloo, amble into the garage, step outside, amble up the side yard and into the back yard.

Frankie adventures today? He will get into something. It's too good of a day to keep Frankie from finding something worthy of his investigation.

Frankie won't want any mom attention today. But I will have an eagle eye on him because when it comes to Frankie and most sulcata tortoises on a perfect day like today, they can make anything into an adventure: from simple fun to events of catastrophic proportions.

It could be a completely ordinary, uneventful day for Frankie. But since when do things turn out that way with Frankie? Don't worry, I will report back all notable events.