You could argue that I grew up with tortoises. Sam was my dad’s tortoise, he found him when he was a boy. When I was little, Sam lived in the garden at Nanna and Grandad’s house. Whenever he ran away (which he did, every now and then), he was always returned because his name and address were painted on his shell. He had two semi circles cut out the back of his shell; leftover evidence that someone had once drilled into his shell to make holes so he could be tied down. Sam eventually moved to live with Dad again, along with a few other tortoises that had been acquired along the way. Sam died about three years ago. I was always fond of him.
Around the time Sam died I had an idea that I’d like to have a tortoise of my own. I learned that neighbours of the in-laws were tortoise breeders. They offered teeny tiny babies who would need a vivarium and lots of care. I’m well lazy and knew I’d not be able to give them the proper attention needed so declined the offer. A few weeks ago we were told that the breeders still had tortoises ready and waiting (the same ones, in fact). They were hibernating through winter now and a lot less vulnerable, would we like them? Yes please! So at three and a half years old, Pod & Ludo have moved into our back garden (they have an indoor bedroom for night time). They are Hermann’s tortoises.
I love them. I have to stop myself from kissing them (they can carry salmonella and parasites so it’s best to refrain). They’re really cute. Ludo likes broccoli, Pod likes tomatoes. They both like having a bath.
When they have play time, they walk around the whole edge of the lawn. They’re always accompanied because there is a drop down onto the gravel. You’d be amazed at how clever they are. They know exactly what they’re doing and never blindly plop off the edge. We’ve also bought some fencing to make them a bigger, better space. I need to set it up in a place where there are no poisonous plants but half the plants in the borders are really not tortoise friendly, ugh.
There’s still a lot to learn. I got some good advice from the vet about their diet and it seems we’re doing everything correctly. They’ve been micro-chipped because people love to steal tortoises. I was told that they might cry out when they were chipped but thankfully neither of them did. I felt terribly guilty. Tortoise skin doesn’t heal the same way as mammal’s so they had to be super-glued back together 😦
On hot days they’re very frisky and bomb it about the garden. I am still waiting for the perfect photo but they keep moving and it’s very tricky. On colder days they sleep more and I feel sorry for them. They bury themselves under their bedding and wait for the sun to come out. Whilst we don’t quite get temperatures of the Med, the UK climate is still alright for them. In the winter, they’ll have a giant snooze in the safety of a box in the shed, ready to start again when the weather improves.
I know they’re not everyone’s cup of tea but I really rather like them!