Frankie Tortoise Tales Frankie Tortoise Tails sulcata care tortoise sulcata husbandry Frankie Tortoise Tails Frankie Tortoise Tails: March 2016



March 16, 2016

A Day In Frankie's Life (video)

Ever wonder what a day is like for Frankie?  What can a sulcata tortoise do all day?  The list isn't all that long:

Get some beauty sleep
Bask in the glory of sunlight till the shell hums with warmth
Walk everywhere
Drink as much water as you want
Check out the sky
Make sure the trees are in their place
Look for exotic foods
Get the daily carrot
Check out the humans
Inspect the yard for intruders and strange objects
Hump anything resembling another tortoise
Ram invaders
Inspect buildings and fences
Wait for a walk around the block..

Okay, so the list gets long once you observe Frankie and his shenanigans.  

Your turn to check our Frankie and his daily routine.....about four hours worth of Frankie business.

Video is three minutes and twelve seconds.  Enjoy!

 Comments are always welcome!

March 11, 2016

A Seedy Problem

A reprieve....I have a day's reprieve.  It's raining outside, Frankie is hanging out inside his greenhouse, I get to sit and write a Frankie Tortoise Tail.

New problem in the Frankie's Backyard Paradise.  

Two years ago when we moved here our neighbor let us know we had a fruit tree in our yard. The excellent tree that shades the back porch is some sorta exotic fruit tree that I had never hear about.  I kept an eye on it that first year yet no flowers or fruit every appeared.  

Frankie loved eating the non-toxic year round green leaves that fell in the yard.  Pretty much, except for the excellent shade and delicious leaves I quit paying attention to the tree. 

.....until this December.  Tiny lovely white flowers began adorning the tree.  What tree blooms in the middle of the winter?

The Loquot Tree does.  

Not only does it bloom in the winter, it's one of the very few trees that produces fruit in the winter.  

Curiously I watched as the fruits begin forming.  By January the little green fruits were thumb size. In February they begin to ripen into yellow luscious fruits.

Fruits are a no-no for sulcata tortoises.  The fruit sugar wrecks havoc with the tortoise digestion system evolved for a scant grassland diet.  Sugars cause intestinal bacteria imbalances, and contributes to the dreaded bladder stones.   

Just say, "No," to fruit Frankie.  Just say, "No!"

Frankie camps out under that Loquot Tree like a beggar.  

First thing in the morning I head out to the tree and pick up anything fallen from the night before.  

Doesn't matter.  Frankie haunts the tree like a Florida retiree on a beach.

Frankie under the Loquot Tree

Took just a couple of days to realize I was missing all the "pre-nibbled" fruit dropped to the ground by birds.  Bits of fruit fall the ground hidden by grass and dirt and only the sharp nose of a tortoise can find the little sweet morsels.

And then there were the seeds.  For barefooted me its like stepping on Tic-Tacs.  I know they are there.  I can feel them.  The panic came when I realized that Frankie was eating the seeds.  

An internet search reveals the seeds may or may not be poisonous, depending on the source. Thanks, Internet.   

Time for Poop Patrol.  I dissect three previous days' poop.  Yep.  Frankie is eating the pits.  

Good news:  Frankie doesn't chew.  Bad news:  Frankie swallows.

It's been wait and watch.  

Fruits been falling for three weeks.  Frankie isn't dead yet.

Still not taking chances.  I am outside sweeping, raking, picking up the fruit all day long.  I have to be vigilant.  Frankie is.

Frankie does his morning bask and a quick walk around the yard, He skips grazing and heads straight under the Loquot Tree skulking about for bits of fruit dropped by birds.


He doesn't find any whole fruits.  I've grabbed those.

I even recruited neighbors to check for fallen fruit under the Loquot Tree while I was out of town.  

I thought the small Persimmon tree in our yard in Birmingham was trouble.  It's nothing compared to the full grown Loquot Tree.  I hate to consider chopping it down.  The Loquot fruit is delicious!   Like a pear only much sweeter.  

Frankie thinks so.  

Free Loquots to anyone who wants to come over and harvest it themselves.  Bring a carrot for Frankie and help yourself to free Loquots.


Special thanks to neighbors Denise and Renee, vigilant Frankie guardians.