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March 15, 2018

Noise, Bucket, Monster

I've been working on this Frankie Tortoise Tail for a while but just couldn't get it "framed" right.  Just didn't seem to have a start or a finish so it's been left undone. Surrendering to pressure to post "anything" about what Frankie is up to I thus present this:

Over last year's holidays I shared a Frankie Tail over dinner with some friends. One friend laughed so hard I thought she was going to fall off her chair.  Another stared in confused-disbelief.  Guessing the "Tail" is tell-able here it goes told just the way I told it over a dinner party.

Frankie got his first noise complaint.  Really.  I brag that neighbors can't complain about noise because sulcata tortoises don't bark. It's a perk point for tortoises.

Apparently I am very, very wrong.

During one of the last year's warm Fall weekends, I headed out to check the mailbox. My next-door neighbor spotted me and waved to have a word.

My neighbor, an avid lawn and garden caretaker, asked me if everything was okay as he grew concerned about the loud "moaning" and "groaning" noises coming from our backyard.....all morning.  

Immediately I face the dilemma whether to explain in scienfic or slang terms exactly what my sulcata tortoise is doing to his favorite orange bucket.

I choose "humping".

My dear 14 year old, sexually mature, 108 pound sulcata tortoise, Frankie, is outside in his yard "loving" his orange bucket.....for four hours.  Four.  Hours.

This four hour love-fest is perfectly normal behavior for Frankie and most all healthy male sulcata.

This happens all the time.  Yes, humping for hours. All the time.

Although my neighbor didn't ask, I promised I'd take Frankie's bucket away on weekends so everyone could work peacefully in their yard.

Back to the Dinner Party.  The disbelieving-astonished guest inquired further as to what a 100+ pound tortoise humped as obviously we don't own a female sulcata tortoise and never will.  I went on to explain about "bucket love."

I explained about Frankie's obsession with buckets. Not just buckets. There's been other objects of Frankie's "Tough Love."  "Tough" in that object's of Frankie's Interests don't survive that long....intact.

In the past there was Umbrella Stand.
Umbrella stand is an all-time favorite but getting too small to really please Frankie.

Julie of Long Island Turtle Rescue's gifted Frankie this turtle umbrella stand. 

Grey bucket's gave five year of service.

Frankie's current  bucket is it's third year of Tough Love.  
Orange Bucket needs the weekend off.  Orange bucket is beginning to split so it needed some recovery time anyway.

Frankie was pretty grumpy about loosing orange bucket.  I thought I would make it up to him by buying a big pumpkin.  I thought he would be amused chasing down the big round pumpkin trying to eat it.

I watched him chase the pumpkin trying to chomp into it before it would roll away again.  He seemed quite engaged in the activity so I went back inside the house.  An hour or so later I went back to see what was left of the pumpkin.

To my horror I found Frankie upside down next to the uneaten pumpkin. Humping trumped eating and obviously Frankie slid off the round pumpkin and onto his back.

This is real horror to any sulcata owner.  Sulcata tortoises cannot right themselves.  Left on their back, they can die of heat stroke if under a hot sun or suffocate if left there.

I ran to Frankie and turned him back over.  He seemed to be stunned and I didn't want to leave until he recovered.  I sat with him for what seemed an eternity before he started walking around again.

This is where it gets strange.  This is also how Frankie got a new name:  Monster.

Once Frankie was feeling more like himself he started stomping around the yard. Not the usually Frankie-walking-around-enjoying-yard but with a madder-than-hell look.

The aftermath was total destruction of the greenhouse's door cover.  Door cover I built (picture below) BEFORE Mad-As-Hell Monster took revenge for bucket loss.

It wasn't an accident.  After ramming one side he sorta swayed back and forth to make sure it came all the way down.  I ran inside to get the camera!

I cleaned up the mess once I pulled everything off the top of I mean Monster.  He seemed satisfied that he had made his point.

I don't know what the point was. The door didn't do anything.  He's gonna get a new bucket.  He'll get five days of tough love with weekends off.  He got to eat the pumpkin!

So ends the Dinner Party Frankie Tortoise Tail.  The story of how a sulcata tortoise can bother the neighbors.  The story of Bucket Love.  The story how Frankie got his new name, Monster.