Frankie Tortoise Tales Frankie Tortoise Tails sulcata care tortoise sulcata husbandry Frankie Tortoise Tails Frankie Tortoise Tails: April 2018



April 26, 2018


I am not paranoid.  Really, I am not.  I'm not all that interesting.  I don't attract attention.  I am quite ordinary.  No one is after me.

My secret is this:  the smallest person in the room wins.  Survival tactics from growing up in a family of five kids.  Who get's called to do the dishes?  First person mom spots.  Who gets scolded?  The loudest most obnoxious kid.  When mom reaches blindly into the car back seat and starts swatting, who gets hit?  The center kid.

My mastery of the subtle is sublime.  When Frankie is not with me, I go completely unnoticed.  When Frankie IS with me everyone is looking at the 110 pound tortoise.

Home security is about the same.  Don't be noticeable.  Don't put empty flat screen TV boxes by the curb.  Don't place your best silver on the front window shelf. Don't keep Frankie inside a chain link fence.

The front door is locked.  All gates closed and locked.  During the day the backdoor is unlocked so I can run in and out to see Frankie.

I spent the morning safe and relaxed on my computer in the front of the house editing some new Frankie pictures.  Really concentrating on cleaning them up, cropping, saving, etc.  Occasionally I hear rapidly running paws across the carpet....Newt, our cat, running wild, getting her exercise.  She knocked over some boxes earlier but no real damage.

After spending too much time working on the photos I think soon I need to go check on Frankie.  It's warm so he is outside basking and grazing.  He may want hay because Spring grass is slow growing.  He'll want his daily carrot.

I hear boxes in the hall get bumped.  Dumb cat.  It's cat nap time so what is she doing still running around?  Silence.  Okay, back to the pictures.

I hear the sound of paper being stepped on.  That's odd.  Doesn't sound like a cat walking on paper.

Finish the photo edit.  Save current file.  Turn around in my chair.

Have you ever tried screaming, your mouth wide open but what comes out is more like a gasping coughing.  Air that is supposed to go out is still getting sucked deep into your lungs.  What comes out sounds more like "WA..WA....aaaaaaahhhhhh.  Yeah, that scream that pretty much ends in a complete helpless choking fit.

I start waving my hands madly not because I am scared but that poor Frankie, in the house, in the dining room, five feet in front of me, acts like he is under attack. 

He frantically exhales making this WHHHHSSSSSSSSS noise, pulling back into his shell and wobbling like a spinning toy top. 

Frankie, having discovered the back door unsecured and not completely closed, has made his way through the living room, down the hall and all the way into the dining room. 

I am caught completely unawares by the Frankie burglar looking for carrots.

It took Frankie some time to trust me again.  Two carrots to be exact.

April 25, 2018

A Chance of Frankie

Tuesday the Hubby tells me that the chance of rain on Saturday is 100% and the temperature predictions are cool.

Awe.  We've had plans since November last to take Frankie to the April Mobile Autism Funky Fun Run.  Ten years of Frankie's attendance harkens spring much like the spring rain brings spring flowers.  But weather...well weather has final say if Frankie gets to go or stay at home.

We took Frankie to an event once when it was overcast and cool.  He spent the entire time trying to tunnel under nearby cars and bushes.  He was miserable.  WE were miserable.

Another time we took Frankie to an outdoor evening event. Nope, sorry, Frankie's bedtime is the minute that sun starts casting large shadows...oh, around 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm fall through winter.  No bushes around so he buried his head into a corner.  Call him no-participation.

Summer he still turns in well before 8:00 pm.  He's just not a night owl, early morning bird, or evening reveler.  He needs his beauty sleep.

Wednesday I ask Greg to check again as the weather does what it wants....just in case the notoriously fallible weather forecasters get it wrong.

Not only is rain predicted, now they say it could be heavy rains all day.


Still I keep checking.  Thursday...same. it's chance of severe weather.  No chance of sun. No chance Frankie will get to the event.

I send an e-mail to Angel at the Mobile Autism office that Frankie probably won't be there due to the weather.

Notice I said "probably".  Ever hopeful.

Friday night I go out to Frankie's greenhouse, close up all the vents, wrap Frankie in hay, and close his door.  Ready for a storm.

"Night, Monster."  (Yep, still call him Monster.)

Heavy winds and rain don't wake me.  I just wake up at the six o'clock hour (no alarm needed as I just wake up).  Head to the computer to check, one more time, just in case, for weather predictions for the day.

What?  Really?  Chance of rain plummets to 5% for the morning with partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the low 70's.

What sorcery is this? little old lady wake Greg.  Convenience him I am telling the truth.  Offer to make French Toast if he wakes up.

Can't say there was any type of divine intervention.  Our weather forecast has been horribly unreliable this spring.

The chance of Frankie attending this year's Funky Fun Run: 100%.

The unpredictable weather caused some vendors to cancel and quite a few people got word that the event was off....but many showed up.

Frankie was there.  The abundance of clover on the grounds meant Frankie feasted.  More grazing than walking but more shell rubs for him.

Frankie loved it.
Me grazing at Mobile Funky Fun Run for Autism. Mom surrenders that she will never pick me up ever, ever again. Ever. Get help, ma. I'm not getting back in the car by myself.