Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Tortoises

With an animal lover for a father, I was lucky enough to grow up with desert tortoises in our backyard. Many years ago my brother, The Sgt. Major, found a desert tortoise on the freeway. (We didn't live near the desert) He brought it home and after some research my Dad found out that you can't take tortoises back to the desert once they leave because they get a cold and that could spread to the others. So we had ourselves a tortoise.

Then a neighbor found another tortoise on the freeway and brought it to our house because she knew we already had one and wouldn't it be nice for them to have each other. You see where I'm going here. A few years later one more arrived. It became obvious by the tortoise porn going on in the backyard that there was one male and two females.

Pretty soon both females were laying eggs. The eggs didn't hatch because they were laying them in moist dirt. So Dad borrowed an incubator, did more research and voila! Baby tortoises!

Interesting fact: The sex of the tortoise depends on the temperature of incubation. So all of these baby tortoises were female.

Then Dad gave the incubator back and just filled in one of the female's favorite spots to lay eggs with sand instead of dirt. And voila! Baby tortoises were crawling out of the sand. The rest of the baby tortoises from this point on were males.

28 tortoises later and a look from Mom, he filled in the favorite spot with dirt again.

Dad would bring the tortoises out to graze on the grass in the morning. Give them romaine, rose petals, water and moist wheat bread. Mom wouldn't give them rose petals until they ate their romaine lettuce. But Dad would sneak it to them when she wasn't looking. True story.

When Dad passed away 5 years ago my Mom was unable to care for them. We found wonderful homes for them all. The Sgt Major and Rosalie have one. Rosalie named her Frida.

My friend, Jennifer, took 2 brothers. She named them Siegfried and Roy.
4 and I got to visit with Siegfried and Roy today.
4 and his buddy fed them rose petals from Jen's garden.

We didn't make them eat their romaine first.


  1. Today's menu:

    Dandelion greens (purchased from Ralphs)
    Overripe Cantaloupe

    The rose bushes seem to be done for the season. And if it weren't for this blasted heat wave the boys would soon be headed for their newspaper lined Rubbermaid Tuff Bins in the garage.

    They're a bit confused by this turn in the weather. I can tell they want to head into their long winter's nap, but then it's 90 degrees so the calendar and the temperature are at odds.