Thursday, February 28, 2008

Tortoises Awaken......

Back in November my three tortoises went into hibernation. As soon as the weather became milder and daytime temperatures rose I began to hear rustling and knew they were beginning to stir. This is slightly earlier than usual, they cannot go outside at this time of the year because the nights are still too cold and the important thing is for them to warm up slowly and begin to start eating. It is always difficult to kick start them into eating, which can be quite dangerous for them as they do not have much reserve left after their long sleep.
One way is to give them warm baths which they need anyway and I then apply a little olive oil to their shells.
Topsy, one of the females, is the one I have been having problems with for the past three years as she has woken up with mouth rot. So far this year I have not been able to get her mouth open so I don't yet know if it's going to be another trip to the vet. Remember last year when I nearly had to take out a mortgage to pay the vet bill!

The next problem I had was how to look after them indoors until it is warm enough to put them outside. I suggested to embee that he made them a pen, which he did earlier in the week~ see below as he beavered away when he came home from work.
The next issue was where to put it, the room that gets the sun is of course the sitting room at the front of the house. I can hear you all gasping who, in their right mind, would want animals in their sitting room~ well I know a lot of you have your dogs, cats, birds etc so why not tortoises. They do not smell and provided you keep the pen clean (I line the pen with newspaper) it's not a problem.
Before the pen was ready they were in individual boxes and seemed most unhappy trying to get out. Now they are all together they seem a lot more settled and they have more space to move around. Tom and Tog have both cleared their system and tog has eaten some apple so I am happy with them. Topsy is still pretty lethargic!
As the sun came out this morning they all moved to a spot where they could sunbathe so hopefully this will help Topsy. Let me know if you are interested and I will keep you updated!

P.S. All the photos will enlarge.

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34 Comments:

At 28/2/08 13:58, Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Hmmm, Blogger rejected my comment.

 
At 28/2/08 14:15, Blogger Asha said...

Oh, Spring is here then!! There are so many of them!! Cute!
Hope vet bill doesn't cost too much. Even gas and grocery is all becoming expensive here now, life's getting harder!!

 
At 28/2/08 14:18, Blogger Lil Mouse said...

that's cool. how fun!

 
At 28/2/08 14:22, Blogger lisa marie said...

Oh yeah, definitely interested! Please keep posted. I think this is so interesting! Tortoises can live many many years can't they? Do they grow much, or have they since you've had them? I guess the olive oil is to help replace any oils you washed away? See I do need to know more. :)

Hope Topsy comes round. Oh and your hubby is great to make them a little home. :) My hubs made a whelping box for our dog a few years ago, guys can be great with the pets. :)

 
At 28/2/08 14:25, Blogger laurie said...

what a remarkable thing you're doing. i love it!

and i am not shocked to find that you have a giant pen of turtles -- sorry, tortoises--in your sitting room. our houses contains all kinds of secret fabulous things.

post more; i'll read it.

 
At 28/2/08 15:26, Blogger Jen Swofford said...

Yay, the tortoises are up! Welcome back to the world. My non-hibernating tortoises are still in their basement pen, awaiting spring. It's quite a while yet before they can go outside, here in Chicago. Hm, I haven't blogged in a while; I'll have to mention you in my next entry. :)

 
At 28/2/08 15:31, Blogger Aoj & The Lurchers said...

Oh yes, most definitely interested! Do keep us up-dated!

 
At 28/2/08 16:08, Blogger ChrisB said...

AC I wonder if that was because I was editing!

asha I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Lisa marie the shell get dried.

Hi Jen I do keep my eyes peeled to see if you have any new post!

 
At 28/2/08 16:45, Anonymous nikki said...

The tortoises! They ARE real! Dude, I'm totally interested. I love turtles/tortoises.

 
At 28/2/08 17:00, Blogger Steffi said...

Nice pics of your tortoises.They e cute.

 
At 28/2/08 17:12, Anonymous Karmyn R said...

I'd think they'd be RAVENOUS after sleeping that long! How many years do household tortoises usually live?

 
At 28/2/08 17:36, Blogger Deborah said...

I LOVE the tortoises! Definitely keep us updated. It's absolutely fascinating! ;-)

 
At 28/2/08 17:45, Blogger ChrisB said...

karmyn they can get to over 100 and many of the giant ones much longer Harriet (Australian zoo) died in 2006 aged 175. There was one in India that was said to be around 250 when it died. There was also Timmy who died 2004 at 160 in England. He was a mascot in the crimea war. So they are quite interesting creatures.

 
At 28/2/08 18:20, Blogger cookiecrumb said...

And I think I have bad breath when I wake up. Poor Topsy! Good luck.
Embee is a hero.

 
At 28/2/08 18:38, Blogger Sandy said...

I think this is so intriguing. Please keep updating us on the tortoise trio!

 
At 28/2/08 19:20, Blogger Beckie said...

I find it very interesting!

 
At 28/2/08 19:31, Blogger Sam said...

At the age of 41.5 I still have never experienced the trauma of having my first pet die. I am keeping my fingers crossed that Topsy, my first pet, of 37 years, will pull through. C'mon Topsy! I love you. Don't make me cry.

 
At 28/2/08 19:42, Blogger ChrisB said...

CC embee is only a hero sometimes see my comment to Sam below!!

Sam I'd better not tell you dad was suggesting selling them (don't worry I wouldn't do that)!!

 
At 28/2/08 22:01, Blogger Sam said...

you can sell them to me!

 
At 28/2/08 22:25, Blogger Alix said...

They are so cute and it's really interesting to learn about them. Hope this means srping is on it;s way everywhere it still feels pretty wintry here!

 
At 28/2/08 22:42, Blogger Kaytabug said...

Oh yes I want to hear more!! We saved a box turtle from a neighbor in the middle of winter last year. They had snagged her from their yard late summer. She did beautifully with us and we let her back out into the wild once the danger of frost was gone. I miss her.

I hope Topsy gets better!!

 
At 28/2/08 22:55, Blogger Jennie said...

I think the lounge is the perfect place for them!
I hope Topsy gets better soon.
I love tortoises and always wanted one when I was little. (I think Blue Peter had a lot to do with that!)

 
At 29/2/08 00:16, Blogger Alison said...

I love them Chris!! We have a box turtle hibernating in our front yard right now...I would love to have tortoises also....I have always had a thing for them!! Tell embee he did a marvelous job on the box for them!!!

 
At 29/2/08 00:17, Blogger Willowtree said...

Here's what Wiki says about Harriet

She was reportedly collected by Charles Darwin during his 1835 visit to the Galápagos Islands as part of his round-the-world survey expedition, transported to England, and then brought to her final home, Australia, by a retiring captain of the Beagle. However, some doubt was cast on this story by the fact that Darwin had never visited the island that Harriet originally came from.

Either way, she was pretty old. I think Steve Irwin had an old one as well.

 
At 29/2/08 08:08, Blogger bermudabluez said...

Yes, Chris! I am interested....I don't know anyone who has tortoises. Never even knew you could take them to the vet. But, if it's anything like our vet bills...they just keep going up and UP! Please keep us updated as to how they are doing! Their shells are really pretty after you put the oil on! And it is very nice of embee to make them a little home!

 
At 29/2/08 08:53, Blogger Beccy said...

Good job Dad.

I hope Topsy is ok and don't let Tom get his strength up too quickly, we don't want him jumping on Topsy and Tog while they're still weak.

 
At 29/2/08 09:29, Blogger ChrisB said...

jennie my girls were blue peter fans and I think they were responsible for a lot of children wanting pets but at least they showed you how to care for them properly.

WT Yes I read that but the Darwin connection does make a nice story even if it's untrue!

beccy you know Tom he's all male!!!

 
At 29/2/08 16:03, Anonymous tiger lamb girl said...

Oh Chris, I love hearing about your tortoises:). I hope when you look in her mouth - it's clear this year!!

 
At 29/2/08 16:24, Blogger Jettie said...

isn't that cool!! our neighbor girl has a soft shell turtle.
And we seen a snake turtle a few years back!!

 
At 1/3/08 02:45, Blogger secret squirrel said...

We are interested in your tortoises...please keep us up to date and we hope that topsy is o.k.
Actually we were wondering if you could take a photo,perhaps with your hand on one of them,so that we could get a better idea of their size.

xox eve xox

 
At 1/3/08 09:11, Blogger ChrisB said...

eve I will do that soon for you.

 
At 1/3/08 18:42, Blogger Pamela said...

I was excited to see a Tortoise post.
I wear a night guard - a very tiny NTI. I was wondering if it would be cheaper to have one made for Topsy to wear while she hibernates -- so she won't get mouth rot. ha ha ha.

 
At 2/3/08 06:30, Blogger my4kids said...

I do remember last year with Topsy hope things go better this year for you and her. I love to see the pictures of the tortoises and Embee did a great job. I don't see anything weird about having their pen in the sitting room. That is where the kennel is for our puppies to sleep.

 
At 4/3/08 15:01, Blogger elena jane said...

ahh, the tortoises are awake, so spring is surely on its way!! hope they are doing well :)

 

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