Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Sandy the Tortoise's Bio
It's Sandy the tortoise! Sandy's story is a classic of rags to riches. It begins with her being bought by irresponsible parents that got her for their children as a pet. They did absolutely no research about proper husbandry and feeding, ans she lived in a shoe box with no heating or lighting and fed her nothing but lettuce. Children being children they got bored with her in about two weeks and lost her somewhere in their house. Almost two months later they remembered they even had a tortoise when she crawled out from under their couch one day. By that time she was very sick, and they decided they didn't want her anymore. So they dumped her with my dad, who then gave her to me. When she came to me, she was very weak and lethargic, and her shell was so soft that it would give way easily when pressed on. However, it didn't take long for her to perk right up under my care. She's still a very tiny tortoise, and her shell could be permanently deformed, but the personality that has come to the surface after proper feeding and care is larger than life!
Most people who know her know her as "the diva", for she is truly a diva incarnate. She is a tortoise that demands prompt service, or prepare yourself for a the tortoise version of a tantrum. If I didn't include her favorite things in her pile of food or if she felt that the pile of food wasn't big enough, she will proceed to climb up her little plastic cave that she sleeps in and in her grief-stricken state, throw herself off the top of it and land on her back. After a couple minutes she gets herself up and then repeats the process a couple more times before realizing that I'm not going to oblige her and then begrudgingly eats. I also refer to her as "murder tortoise" because during bonding time when I hand-feed her, her blind chomping usually leads to bitten fingers. Over the few years I've had her, I've come to fear this tortoise. Sometimes I'll get a chill and look over and there she'll be, staring at me psychotically with her neck stretched all the way out expecting food or attention.
But Sandy has her sweet moments too. Every week she gets a good half hour bath where I put her in a small plastic tub filled with half an inch of warm water. She just loves to put her head under the water and blow bubbles so she can watch them break on the surface. Just recently I was faced with the conundrum of her getting better exercise. Dad was always complaining that I didn't play with her enough and that I should let her walk around. My response was that she was too small to be played with, but he had a point. It would be years before she was big enough to let roam freely, which means years of being stuck in her hutch. So while at a pet shop restocking supplies for my animals and looking at all the colorful hamster balls, I got an idea. Why not get one for Sandy? She would be easier to see and she wouldn't be able to get lost in the house. I bought a clear one for her and she took to it right away. Now she can be seen rolling her way around the house with her new-found freedom. Honestly, its the funniest thing you've ever seen in your life.
All her redeeming qualities aside, I am looking forward to the day when she's big enough to live outside permanently, which will be in about fifteen years. Woo? Being my first tortoise, Sandy has taught me a lot.She has taught me that tortoises are more fragile than they seem, and that for their rather amiable appearance, they make up for it with tenacious personalities. This is going to be an interesting rest of my life until I have to make arrangements in the will so she will be well looked after. And then it will be an interesting rest of their life, until they make arrangements for her in their will. And then...