Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Turtle Tchotchke Tuesday

Meet Tchotchkie.

He's a Russian tortoise. One of my coworkers found him wandering through the neighborhood. He polled his neighbors to see if anyone was missing a tortoise but no one was. So he asked if anyone at work wanted to take care of him. I suggested the San Diego Turtle and Tortoise Society. They apparently didn't want to make a special trip and John didn't really want to drive the tortoise down to San Diego. So I offered to take him to see if I could get him a good home.

We bought him a home from the local reptile shop. It's a two-by-three foot box with a lid (wire on one end and solid on the end with a secluded little room). The reptile person said that is a big enough home for the tortoise. It seems small to me. I think I'll build a pen in the back yard. This is a digger, so I'll have to line it with hardware cloth to keep him from escaping. And cover it with a wire lid to keep predators away.

The reptile shop person said he's pretty much full grown. And his beak is an indication that he hasn't been given the best diet up to now. I guess they keep growing and wear down when they bite off bits of chow. If it doesn't wear away, I guess I'll have to take him to a vet to have it filed down.

This critter will outlive us (if we take good care of it).

Speaking of tortoises wandering down the street, I got to see this guy last week at Joshua Tree National Park:
I was driving down the main road and a couple were standing on the side of the road looking down. They were watching a desert tortoise. Of course, I parked the car and joined them. The poor thing was in the road with steep curbs on both sides of the road.

Earlier, munching on the plants growing in the road:
The couple left and I was there with no idea what to do. I stood guard as it walked from one side of the road to the other. We all know that we're not supposed to touch these tortoises. I wish I had seen the desert tortoise link above that tells us that in this case, when the tortoise is in imminent danger of being struck by a vehicle, that we can move it if done carefully. Somebody hoisted it up over the curb and onto the dirt but not the 50 feet from the road they say it should be moved. Next time I'll know better. I hope it stayed out of the road.


Colleen said...

What a beautiful tortoise! Do you have to clean up his poop? Can you train him to dig where you want him to?

Colleen said...

If you have leftover hardware cloth, you could use it for needlepoint.

Chuckbert said...

Poop cleaning will be necessary while he's in his wooden cage. It will need to be hosed out now and then. Once we build a pen on the ground I guess the poop will just become part of the dirt. So far, I haven't noticed any lumpy poops, just watery stuff. I don't think I'll have to scoop it up with a shovel.

I hope to have no leftover hardware cloth. I don't want to have to take up a new hobby to use it up.

RetroMag said...

Tchotchkie is beautiful! I hope he thrives well. And I hope the Joshua Tree turtle got home safely.

Poss said...

lovely animal, can hardly wait to see him/her

Shoe said...

Both of them are very cool! What a couple of lucky finds!

Poss said...

how is the little animal doing? Does he have a new house yet?

Chuckbert said...

No pen in the yard yet. I've been out of commission for the last few weekends.

He seems to be doing OK. We're not finding a lot of food he likes. So far it's mostly zucchini. Everything else we've tried just sits there.