Monday, October 14, 2019

Tortoise Mondays

This is a picture of my Russian Tortoise, Chili, on one of the last days he got outside this summer... today is significantly less nice outside, certainly not the kind of day any of my tortoises could enjoy some time in the outside enclosure.

It is however, a Monday, and Mondays are both special and busy for the tortoise and me because it's the top of their week. I soak all of them, evaluate all of them, make them all special meals, and give all of their enclosures a once-over.

All of the tortoises have dedicated soaking tubs, and while I try to soak all of them a few times a week (and Aretha, the hatchling, almost every day) Monday soaks are longer. Soaking helps the torts stay hydrated, and also to poop. It also gives me a chance to spray each one off and get them clean at least once each week.

I have a health and wellness checksheet that I run each tortoise through each Monday which includes:

  • weight
  • length
  • eating
  • activity level
  • carapace
  • plastron
  • beak
  • nails
  • eyes
Filling out the form takes me about 15 seconds per tortoise, per week, but insures that I give them a good looking over at least once a week.

I feed the tortoise pretty much every day, but Mondays I make a bit more effort, and for the forest torts that also means a meal heavy on animal protein. Monday meals for those three include:
  • reptilinks
  • rehydrated silkworm pupae, crickets, mealworms
  • mushrooms
  • pumpkin
  • green beans
  • opuntia pad
  • mixed greens
  • dandelion greens
  • papaya
  • strawberry
  • Mazuri kibble
  • RepCal kibble
  • rehydrated hibiscus flowers and wakame seaweed
The rest of the week, they get a rotating mix of everything but the top few items, which are foods rich in protein. My Russian Tortoise gets fresh greens and flowers on Mondays, and a mix of greens and kibble the rest of the time.

I take advantage of the time the torts are all soaking to spot-clean and neaten their enclosures, including checking for poop or spilled foods, cleaning all bowls and soaking tubs, putting in new branches of leaves, etc.

It takes some time each Monday, but it's a nice chance to connect with the torts on a closer level than I often have time for during the rest of the week.


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