We have a new pet (yes, another one). Her name is Delilah. She comes to us via Sean’s mom. She found her under her car a few years ago, and since tortoises are good luck in Japanese culture, and since my mother-in-law has a collection of tortoise figurines and loves all things tortoise related, she took her to her backyard and Delilah came to live with her. She was a cute little tortoise, about five pounds.
Mom-in-law had no idea she was a Sulcata tortoise, the third largest species of tortoise in the world. They can grow to be 70-110 pounds. And they can eat, and eat, and eat, and grow, and grow, and grow. She is now getting a little too big for the patio she lives on at mom-in-law’s house. We told her we would take her when we had a yard, then when our kids were older. Last weekend, some stupid teenager let her out of the yard and placed her in the middle of the street. (People suck.) She was rescued by a neighbor and fortunately not hit by a car, but it’s now time to get her out of there.
She is currently a little under 50 pounds. She weighs more than any of my children, and is close to the dog’s weight. We have a three tiered backyard. She is on the top two tiers, and can easily move around them. There are stairs between the first and second tiers. She seems to be smart enough to avoid the stairs so far.
We picked her up today. She seems to be adjusting well. She has cruised all over the two tiers, pooped, eaten, and comes up to us when we’re near. She and the dog have a tenuous relationship right now, but I’m sure they’ll adjust. My plants, however, may be destroyed. She has eaten some rose bush and plowed through the little wire fence around my garden. I was hoping it would visually deter her, no such luck. The older girls are fascinated by her and love to watch her eat. (She eats whole bananas, peels and all!)
Our biggest challenge with her will be to get her on some timothy hay. They have digestion systems kind of similar to horses, and should be on a predominantly hay diet with veggies and fruits as supplemental food. She currently gets no hay, and she loves her fruit. Fortunately, she’s doesn’t have the ability to pick things out of her pile of food. We stuck some tortoise pellets and hay into her bananas and tomatoes today, and she ate them right up. It’s a matter of quantity now.
Anyone else have tortoises, turtles, or other reptiles? Do you like having them around? Do you feel they have personalities too?