Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Great Escape (Tortoise Style)

Things I find when doing yard work are usually not all that unusual. I am not lucky enough, as far as good luck goes, to find something like a gold ring set with rubies as was my next door neighbor while she was puttering around her garden right next to my property by inches at that). It was worth a few hundred bucks. Nah, my luck runs more like me finding a brown recluse spider crawling up my hand (that was only 2 weeks ago and it definitely was a recluse spider, if not the brown recluse, with the violin pattern on its back); lucky was luck was not very bad that day because I was not bitten. I found the spider in my compost pile under a pile of twigs I was getting rid of. My type of luck also had me find a metal box buried next to my back chimney. I dug it up expecting cash since it was just the right size to hold a nice wad of it and what did I find? Ash from what apparently been burned bones. Why do I think that? Because there were tiny teeth and bone fragments in it. Nope, the police were not interested. Once I found a really nice and smelly cat turd when I was looking for worms in my compost pile. I use the worms to feed my critters (tortoises, salamanders and the like).

My luck is not always stinky though, sometimes I am in the right place at the right time and sometimes I find something a bit unusual in my yard. Today, I found two nice sized holes in the sides of my tortoise enclosure. That was right after I found my male Hermann's Tortoise near one of our two side gates. He would not have been able to fit under the gate unless he dug but they do love digging. I had been out there trimming the bushes and saw him at the gate while I was cleaning up. I put him back into the pen, saw one hole, covered it over with a brick and then counted my tortoises. When I looked for each I saw one of my Redfoot Tortoises making its way out of a hole on the opposite side of the enclosure. Man the wood is really rotting and they are diggings right through it like convicts digging their way out of a prison. Okay, I plugged that hole too. hen counted them all. There were 3 Redfoots, 2 Hermann's and no Russian. The search was on. After about 15 minutes, I found her under a bush keeping cool That was pretty much where I thought I would find her, under a bush, but only after two complete circuits of the backyard looking for her. Missed her the first time round.

All of them are back in the enclosure now but before closing it all up with them in there, I took them all out and gave them a nice long soak in about 2 inches cool of water in a concrete mixing basin. It's their version of a swimming pool. As for their enclosure, I am going to have to build a new one. I thought I had more time to do it after the previous time that one got out through a hole in the side but I guess I had best get it done pretty soon before I really lose one or more of them. The reason this one is so rotten, besides age, is that our local population of carpenter ants loves the wood it is made from, they destroy it building nests in it. It is made from plywood, which the next one almost definitely will not be made from. I am thinking of using pressure treated wood or cypress - or maybe even getting industrious and building a cement enclosure for them. That would be a lot more work but it would last a lot longer. I may have to see how much Home Depot charges to rent a cement mixer and see if they deliver and pick up the rental unit. If it costs too much or is too much of a pain to get to my house, then it will be wood again, just one that lasts loner than plywood. Whatever the new one is made from, it has to be able to withstand the digging prowess of Danny 'The Tunnel King' Velinski (Charles Bronson's character in the Great Escape) x 10; these little critters love to dig.

All the best,
Glenn B

1 comment:

Glenn B said...

Well, they escaped once again - two of them this time, the Russian and a Redfoot. I found em quickly, then set up a couple of tanks inside and they are now all residing temporarily in indoor enclosures. That will be until I can build a new tortoise pen to set up for them in the backyard.

All the best,