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



April 30, 2010

Dear Diary

Day One: I wake up in my outside enclosure for the first time this spring! Awesome! Today's tasks are walking, grazing and contemplating nothing. Excellent plan. I will be looking forward to the daily carrot mom brings me every day.

Day Two: Looks like another fine day outside. Can't wait to repeat my doings of yesterday today. Mom forgot to bring me a carrot yesterday. She better not forget it today.

Day Three: Rain. Have to stay inside all day. I will poop and pee all over the floor in protest. Surely mom will not forget my carrot today like she did the last two days. This is not like her!

Day Four: Dad dragged me outside at 7:00 a.m. this morning. What's wrong with him? Mom doesn't take me outside until 9:00 a.m. I need my beauty sleep. Dad did give me a carrot.

Day Five: Spent the night outside so I got to sleep-in until 9:00 a.m. I better get a carrot today. The spring weather is awesome. Looks like the grass is growing fast so I better start today's grazing.

Day Six: Some strange lady brought me a carrot today. I think she is owned by that dumb dog Tigger, down the block. Lucky she didn't bring him over. I would have kicked his butt. Dad is keeping my water fresh so I get daily soakings while I sun. Spring is awesome.

Day Seven: Dad was around all day so I eagerly anticipated a carrot. He finely brought one out in the afternoon when he changed out my water. I made sure the water was really dirty with poo so he wouldn't forget.

Day Eight: Dad had coffee outside with me this morning. What is with him? He never hangs around the backyard. Somebody else usually spends time with me.

Day Nine: Another great day. Not too hot but not cold at all. The grass is growing faster than I can graze it. That lady came over again today and gave me a carrot. She had that dog Tigger with her but was smart enough to leave him on the other side of the fence. I would love to kick his butt.

Day Ten: Was colder today and even rained a bit. I stayed in my shelter most of the day until I just couldn't stand it. Went out and grazed a bit. Dad brought me a carrot really late this evening. At least he remembers that I need a carrot every day. He turned on my shelter's heater so I could sleep outside even though it was cooler

Day Eleven: Today I am going to sit up behind the trees so when that woman shows up with Tigger she will think I am inside or something and she will come into the yard with that Tigger dog. He he. He will never know what hits him. That dumb dog thinks I walk at a snail pace. Wait till he sees me charging at ramming speed. Hopefully the woman drops my carrot as she runs for the gate. This is going to be great!

Day Twelve: Dad brought my carrot yesterday instead of the woman. Oh, well. Although dad doesn't spend much time with me outside like someone used to, he rubs my shell and makes sure I have water and my daily carrot. Still, I am getting a bit lonely. I used to get shell rubs more often.

Day Thirteen: Dad was around all day again. He is not much the companion type but he is pretty cool. He is getting much better about keeping me in carrots. I had sun and clouds today so I spent lots of time walking and grazing.

Day Fourteen: Who turned up the heat? I thought this was spring? It was entirely too hot today. Luckily I have a porch with shade and a pool full of water to keep cool. My day was spent sitting under the patio and watching the silly doves who try to drink out of my pool. Sometimes they slip in. Ha ha. Squirrels aren't so smart either. They try to climb over the sides and sometimes fall in. The chipmunks have it right. They go through the trimmed area on the pool that I enter and drink. Hoping tomorrow is a cooler day.

Day Fifteen: Unbelievable! I don't know what's been going on but Mom brought my carrot this afternoon. At first I thought it was the lady with Tigger but no, it was mom. I felt like ramming her. She didn't stay long but then again, it was nearing my bed time.

Day Sixteen: Mom came out this morning to greet me with her morning "Good morning, Frankie" song. I forgot she used to do that everyday. She had a cup of coffee and sat in the yard me while I did my morning bask. She said something about her mother dying last week. Not sure I understand what that all means but it seemed important to her. I moved over next to her and we sat side by side. Together we watch the all the birds eat the seeds she put out. The squirrels showed up and grubbed around for food in the grass. Both of the chipmunks made an appearance. Mom and I just sat there and contemplated it all. I let mom put her feet up on my shell. I think Mom is going to be okay.

April 3, 2010

Poop Float, Please!

Moving on with Frankie's annual check up.

(So e-VET-full that I remember everything even weeks later!)....

Soon after Frankie, Greg and I claim an examination room (Frankie takes up about 1/6th of the room), Dr. Atlas sticks his head to see what Frankie needs today. I tell Dr. Atlas that we want an annual check including a fecal float, a reptile blood panel, and an x-rays to check for bladder stones.

According to experience sulcata owners, including a friend who is a veterinarian assistant, sulcata tortoises should get yearly fecal floats because they are out door grazers, they are famous for tasting about anything within reach including "bad for them" stuff, and they love to eat other animal scant (nice word for POOP!).

Just 45 minutes earlier, as I pulled Frankie out from his Dogloo, I scooped a nice aromatic chuck of freshly deposited Frankie poop. Sulcata like to poop first thing every morning - it's a rule. Yummy. I put the poop in a clean plastic baby food container.

I hand Dr. Atlas this nice sample of what Frankie ate and digested since yesterday. Only a veterinarian would beam as such a disgusting thing and thank you for being so courteous. Had I not brought such a nice new poop sample, Dr. Atlas would have to retrieve some directly from the source. Do image this for a moment. Yes, he will have to put a probe directly into Frankie's vent and swipe a sample. Note: sulcata do not like people messing with their vents - this is also a rule.

So what exactly do they do with this precious poop? The veterinarian technician puts a small sample of the feces into a solution, agitates it and allows the mixed solution to sit. The solution separates parasites from the heavier material. Parasites float and 'da poop sinks. A sample is taken from the top and examined under a microscope making parasitic identification possible.

The fecal float results indicate that Frankie's cat poop diet is not turning out well for him -- he has nematodes. "No more cat poo" says Dr. Atlas. Frankie is prescribed four weeks of Panacur. It could have been worst - he could have needed injections.

Frankie is weighed so they can get the right dose. Frankie weighs 68 pounds. Three more pounds over 65 pounds. Three more pounds gained. My back just hurts just thinking about it.

Next: Looking inside Frankie.