|No really. I promise there is a tortoise in there.|
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Today Boo, our little Antakyan Greek tortoise, surprised me - I was picking up some old wilted leaves from his feeding rock, and instead of pulling into his shell and waiting for me to finish, he walked over to my hand, climbed up onto it, and gave my thumb a hearty bite and tug. I was so delighted, I was even able to suppress the yelp of pain!
Boo is starting to eat like a little piggy - finally! He doesn't seem to like a big pile of food, so instead, I lean a few weeds or leaves up against a rock in his tort table several times throughout the day. He is finally putting on some REAL weight now, too - out of curiosity I weighed him yesterday, and he came in at 476g, which is 25g more than he was last time.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Today I picked up a new foster tortoise: a handsome slate-grey male Greek tortoise. His old owner named him Shelton, so we will stick with this name. Just look at his bright eyes!
|Meet Shelton, the male Greek tortoise |
(we will trim his beak in a few days)
|Shelton posing for the camera|
|Top view of his shell - hoping to figure out his exact species|
|Shelton right after a good warm soak|
I look forward to updating you on his progress!
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Russian tortoises are such little vultures when it comes to food! A few days ago, I treated the torts to some endive lettuce, and they just went WILD over it. In the course of being eaten, the lettuce wandered from the feeding rock through the water dish over to the basking area. My little male Roz was being such a little piggy that I ended up making a separate pile of food for him... hence he is not in these pics.
In captivity, tortoises often get overgrown beaks because the food they are fed is too tender to wear the beak down. For this reason, I try to mostly feed weeds and leaves from my garden, and to include plenty of tougher plants that require more biting and chewing. A lot of the really 'soft' leafy greens are not as high in nutrients as others, so I only feed these as part of the varied dark leafy greens I offer.
The two young females are so funny. Even when I give them their own pile(s) of food, they always want to eat off of the food the others are eating... preferably while climbing up and over each other.
Mila finally wandered off and hit the jackpot with her own pile of lettuce. She quietly munched away at it until NOTHING was left.
Good little vultures! Eat all your food, grow big and strong... and lay eggs for me this year, please!
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
It never ceases to amaze me how my tortoises always seem to do everything together, in spite of all the space I provide for them. My little Russians bask together, eat together, sleep together. I know that tortoises aren't 'social' creatures, and that I shouldn't project human emotions onto them... but it is very hard not to think that on some level, they enjoy each other's company.
Did you know that a group of multiple tortoises is called a 'bale' of tortoises? Random fact of the day...
It is interesting to me how much less territorial Roz has been since I moved the two other females into the big tort fort. He now hardly bothers the girls at all - which to be honest, is not entirely good, since I am hoping to get some tortoise eggs this year...
I am curious to see over the next few years how big Jill and Mila grow to be in comparison to Timmy. She really dwarfs the others with her size.
Timmy and Jill both have exceptionally pretty coloring - their shells are bright yellow! Jill's shell has more light yellow, which is probably just due to her young age, while Timmy has a rich golden hue. (The basking light makes their shells look a bit more bright in this picture than they actually are, btw)
My three females especially seem to like spending time together. They have a lot of space to roam, and yet they always seem to end up in the same spot!
|A pile of tortoises|
|Soaking up some warmth and UVB together - look how big Timmy is!|
|Timmy and Jill|
|My three females, basking together while Roz roams his territory.|
Friday, February 8, 2013
We have had Boo the Greek tortoise for 3.5 months now. He is still very shy, and often pulls his head inside his shell when someone walks near his tort table... but he is feeling comfortable enough that I was able to get a few good pics of him eating!
|Nom! Good little Greek tortoise!|
|Boo the Greek tortoise chowing down on some endive|
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
I finally finished our tort fort, and it is no longer sitting on the ground! Our friend built this for us, and now the top and bottom have finally been put together. I love having all the storage, and it looks so nice, too! (Thanks, Andy!)
The tortoise table is the first thing people see when they come into our house - I am so glad that it is finally functional AND 'pretty' - don't you love the leg design of the dresser underneath? They look just like the little half-rounded opening into the hide house.
UPDATE: I took some more pictures of the tort fort in daylight. I added a pile of large-ish rocks for the torts to scramble over, as well as mounding the substrate up and over a very large flowerpot. The little Russians are having so much fun exploring!
Our friend Andy made all the trim himself, by the way. You really have to see it up close to see how nicely he built it.
I double-checked my temps with a temperature gun, too, after putting everything back together. The 'cool' end is room temperature, at 69-71 degrees F at substrate level. The warm side is 82 degrees, and immediately under the basking bulb, I measured 97-102 degrees.
Our friend Andy built this from his own design, after sitting down with me to plan it. The left side has a window that has a shutter, so I can look into the hide box, which is large, and filled with a nice deep layer of substrate for the tortoises to burrow in. I treated the oak with several layers of 2 different colors of stained polyurethane, so it matches our antique oak wardrobes, dressers and such.
|The torts exploring their new substrate mound (Mount Coco) and rock pile|
|The females basking together. Roz is hiding.|
|Daytime view of the tort fort.|
Saturday, February 2, 2013
Today we had one of those wonderful, beautifully BRIGHT sunny winter days we sometimes have here in the Pacific Northwest (that's right, it is NOT gray all the time here!). It was only about 50 degrees F in the shade, but in the sunny spots of our yard, the ground temp measured at 70-75 degrees, so I brought the tortoises out into the yard to roam and soak up some 'real' sun for about half an hour.
What a lovely afternoon, and we even came back inside with the same number of tortoises we started out with.
My oldest son helped me keep track of everyone - Russian tortoises are little Houdinis, and can really pick up some speed when they are determined. Roz, especially, is a little runner. Timmy is a digger, and kept trying to burrow.
Amidst herding tortoises, I got some really nice pics of them.
|Jill (front) and Roz (back) exploring|
|Mila sunning herself|
|Little Jill catching some good rays of sun|
|Roz and Jill soaking up some sun|
|All four torts eventually found the 'hot spot' by the downspout near the fence.|
Do you see Timmy's bottom as she's trying to dig in?!
|The three girls basking in the front, and Roz going off to explore.|
|Mila enjoying the sun|
|Timmy (my large female) climbing the pipe from the downspout|
|Little Jill looking just plain gorgeous and cute|
|Everyone basking in the hot spot by the fence|
|I like how these guys like to line up like a little train|
|Roz showing off his cute face, and his funny shell growth ring.|