Frankie Tortoise Tales Frankie Tortoise Tails sulcata care tortoise sulcata husbandry Frankie Tortoise Tails Frankie Tortoise Tails: June 2013



June 28, 2013

Gentlemen Start Your Engines

A long time ago, when I was a Wanna-Be-A-Sulcata-Owner, before there was a Frankie, my now 90 pound sulcata tortoise, I hung out with turtle people to learn more about sulcata tortoises.  I really wanted to have a sulcata so I listened very carefully to sulcata owners for tips and advise.

One of those sulcata owners had a large 20 year old male sulcata tortoise named "Sam."  The owner told me that he had trained Sam to come to the sound of a bell by feeding Sam a strawberry every time he rang the bell.  It took Sam a while to catch on but his owner thought it was worth months of training:  when the bell rings Sam comes running.

I have never tried to train Frankie to come running to the sound of a bell.  I never had to train Frankie to respond to the word "carrot."  He figured that word out all by himself.   A key word I've tried to train Frankie to understand is "No!".

Maybe Frankie doesn't really understand the word "NO!" but he certainly responds to my loud, high pitched, panic screams of "NO!   I think it's the tone rather than the word that catches his attention.

Frankie does recognize the word "carrot" and "treat".  Sometimes he ignores me but usually he responds with a beeline dash in my direction the minute I say, "Hey, Frankie! Wanna carrot?"

This evening I went outside to admire Frankie grazing on a freshly mowed lawn.  Upon reaching the bottom stair step and stepping onto the ground I was puzzled when I spied Frankie making a fast double-time trot in my direction with enthusiasm in those dark glistening eyes.

I hadn't said anything.  I didn't announce myself.  I didn't say, "Hello."  I didn't wave at Frankie or show a carrot or anything.  Still, Frankie was heading my way so fast I checked my clothes to see if I was wearing orange.

I prudently took a step to the side from where Frankie was heading to avoid being shin slammed. The side step gave me a needed extra moment to wonder what Frankie was up to or was expecting from me.

There was no slow down to Frankie fervent pursuit to reach me.  By the time Frankie was nose to feet with me I was still side-stepping so he didn't run me down.  Frankie finely came to a screeching halt right on my heals.

"Hello, Frankie."

Frankie immediately started grazing the grass around my feet.

"Okay.  Well, it's nice to see you too, Frankie."  I was a bit relived.

I took a couple steps away and sat down on the grass.  Not to be left two feet away from me Frankie turned around to follow and then continued grazing the grass all around me.

Grazing next to my hip Frankie was dangerously close to grazing my shorts.

"No, no, no! No eating the shorts.  Good Frankie."  Frankie looks up at me then goes back to eating grass....a little to close to my sandals.

"No, no, NO! Not the toes! Frankie!."  Frankie moves away from my toes and sandals.

Frankie passes by my side so I can give him a good shell rub.  He continued to graze around me.

I get up deciding to get Frankie a cuttlebone.  Fetching one from the storage area I turn around to find Frankie tight on my heals.  I didn't even say cuttlebone out loud.  I have to step over him to get back into the yard.

Again I sit down on the grass and then hold the cuttlebone up so Frankie can see what I have for him.

The owner of Sam who showed me how to get a sulcata to "come here" failed to warn me about sulcata collisions. It's like being hit by a cinder block on a skateboard.

I didn't have a chance to say "No!"

Holy NASCAR, Indy and Formula 1!  I attempted a scramble back up on my feet to avoid having Frankie run me down.

I needed a new pair of sandals anyway.

It's the second pair he's ripped up this year.

June 17, 2013

I Turtle Sit: Camp Frankie

Prequel -  I am turtle sitting Gretta's little box turtle, LD.  I promised Gretta that I would give her updates on how things are going.  I also promised I would not let Frankie help.

Little Dude
Camp Frankie

Hello, Mom.  LD here at Camp Frankie.  Havin’ lots of fun and learnin’ lots of new things. 

Frankie stayin’ in his cave.  He has three camera.  Must be watching me having fun.  Guess that makes him Camp Frankie Supervisor.

Right off I played joke on Leann.  I climbed on top of my cork bark and escaped.  She looked everywhere for me.  He,he.  I sittin’ on the window sill looking out the window right next to my enclosure.  I watch her act frantic.

Newly redecorated enclosure features cork bark in middle of box.     

Started week indoors ‘cause of weather.  I introduced to new toy….food…same thing for turtles.  Food is toy.  This toy runs around like crazy.  You have to run after it and catch it.  Thing called cricket and is dusted in some magic white dust that doesn’t seem to help it at all.  Caught four of those crickets.  Still runnin’ around box just in case there were five. 

I get crickets when I am indoors.  I tell Leann I want to eat out.

Leann took me to Frankie’s yard and started turning rocks over.  Was a smorgasbord.  There were bugs, snails, and snails escaped from shell. 

There were lots of those snails escaped from shell.  Leann say, “slug.”  I say, “I just run them down and wrestle ‘em.” 

While Leann scoop up some bugs for big turtles inside I eat all I can stuff in my face.  Leann say I eat more dirt than bugs.  I say I need my iron.  Leann try to wipe bugs and slugs off my face and I say no ‘cause those are for snacks later.

 I got to swim in Frankie’s Olympic sized swimming pool.  It was clean so I got to put in the first poop.  It was lonely looking poop in huge swimming pool.  Leann says poop will get plenty of company later.

I ate green stuff and I like it.   Leann says it’s one of Frankie’s favorite greens and she don’t know its name but she is gonna show you so I can have more.  Leann say I am not dead yet so it must be good for me. 

I think I make Leann sweat a lot.

After eating and harvesting and swimming and running away from Leann we went back inside.  Leann put me in box with bugs and worms we collected.  I can eat three slugs in 45 seconds Leann say. 

I got to eat again inside with the big turtles.  Turtles then got to go outside in Turtle Run but I am not allow because Leann does not want a heart attack. 

Well I got lots more days here at Camp Frankie so see lots more fun ahead.

I think we need to rename Camp Frankie to Frankie CafĂ©.  Is a better fit.

Well, I got to go now.  Leann about to feed geckos and I am planning on climbing up the monkey grass for another big adventure.

Tell dad and brother I love them. 

Love, Little Dude