Frankie Tortoise Tales Frankie Tortoise Tails sulcata care tortoise sulcata husbandry Frankie Tortoise Tails Frankie Tortoise Tails: Summer Mayhem



June 14, 2018

Summer Mayhem

June is officially happening. Frankie transitioned from Winter-Blues to Spring-Burst-Of-Joy-For-70º-Weather! then tumbling quickly down to Summer-Can-It-Really-Be-That-Hot? miserable tortoise.

I'm miserable for other reasons.  I spent late winter through Spring sprucing up Frankie yard with new grass only to have the local wildlife dig up most of the newly laid sod and then watch spring rains...downpours...wash away all the newly sprouted grass seed.

Can't blame Frankie for lack of grass in his yard.  Sulcata Tortoises are great with grass (I said grass) in that the tortoise beak is designed to cut the grass without uprooting roots.

I mention grass is safe because anything...ANYTHING else growing in Frankie's yard is fair game for complete destruction.  Due to Frankie's vigilant attention there isn't a weed in the yard that lasts more than a day.

Mushroom? Mushrooms don't stand a chance.  Worried about potential toxins, I race Frankie to the yard in the morning to get those newly bloomed mushrooms before he does.  Doesn't matter.  He gets the ones I miss.  He's still alive.  Maybe I worry too much.

As for spring cleaning, I pressure washed the back porch and put up a new awning to shade the patio door.  Three old beaten-up plastic chairs were set out by the gate to be throw away.  Ten minutes later and Frankie pushed them all back on the porch.  Chairs are his toys.  We never sit in them anyway...too dangerous with Frankie around.

In consideration of Frankie's love of dandelions, his most favorite food even over carrots, I planted a yellow hibiscus the front a dandelion substitute.  A couple of weeks later I delighted to bring Frankie his first four very yellow hibiscus.

Frankie isn't usually aggressive but as natural sulcata behavior he has his moments.  I am keenly in-tune for situations that stir that side of him:  Never surprise a sulcata.  Don't startle a sleeping sulcata.  Don't take away the bucket. 

Showing a handful of yellow hibiscus flowers to a dandelion-starved sulcata was unwise.

When I knelt down to present Frankie his yellow treat I nearly was knocked over.

Frankie pulled his head back, hissing as the air expelled from his lungs and in a surprisingly agile manner leaped toward the handful of yellow in my outstretched hands.

I dropped the yellow hibiscus and rolled on the ground to avoid the 110 pound collision-bound Frankie.  Who knew at 58 years I was still capable of a precision forward roll.

So, good rule:  no yellow or orange shoes in the yard.

Have I ever mentioned that I collect Fiestaware?  Kitchen ware in bold colors:  red, blue, violet, green, yellow, tangerine and more.  Plates, bowls, candle sticks, pepper and salt shakers, coffee cups, and so on and so on.  My Fiestaware never gathers dust:  everything is used.  Just looking at all of the brightly colored dinnerware sitting in open shelves makes me happy.

So yesterday, I grabbed a yellow Fiesta bowl filled with cereal and headed to the backyard to visit the morning-basking Frankie.

So soon forgotten the orange and yellow rule.

Apparently, Frankie can I-Spy yellow from across the yard.

Walking toward Frankie who was way across the yard I see the signs of sulcata aggression:  Head up, eyes focused.....and movement like a speeding train with no breaks.

Balancing bowl full of cereal, I dodge to the left.  Frankie matches the turn.  I turn back toward the house and pick up my pace.

In movies, why does the hero being chased by zombies stupidly look over their shoulder to see if they are still being chased? (JUST KEEP RUNNING YOU IDIOT BECAUSE YES THEY ARE STILL CHASING YOU)

Oh, yes, why not check to see if they yellow-crazed 110 pound sulcata tortoise is still in pursuit?  HE IS!

And I turn back just in time to dodge three old plastic lawn chairs I should have thrown away but noooo, Frankie needs his toys.

Cereal is lost mostly on the ground and some on my shoes but hey, I need some hand function if I am going to open that back door.

I hear that red flags and bulls are a mostly a myth.  Stab a bull and piss him off and he is going to charge flag or not.  To be safe, just don't wave a red flag at a bull.

Yellow and orange are Frankie's red flag, not mythical.  Which is why I don't wear yellow or orange shoes...or pants..or nail polish.  Or carry yellow Fiestaware in Frankie's yard.

No comments:

Post a Comment