T is for Tortoise – A super cool pet…. but NOT for everyone

Reptiles have always fascinated me. Beautiful, primitive creatures that are so mysterious. They seem to have a history that we will never understand. A Tortoise is a turtle, but a turtle isn’t a tortoise – explanation… a turtle is any shelled reptile, but a tortoise is way more specific. 

One easy way to tell ’em apart: look at their feet and shells. Turtles have flippers or webbed feet with long claws, and their shells are flatter and more streamlined. Tortoises have stubby, feet and heavier shells.

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Tilly and Duke at Happy Hour

I have two friends that are very dedicated to the reptilian world.

My rocker bud, Robert England, was the first person who told me how cool the Tortoise was. Robert heads up Mr. Bob UK Productions and helps promote a lot of cool bands (Pop Evil, Nothing More, Offspring, Chris Cornell…) in the music world. Mega awesome guy….

Robert is a Californian and I always loved hearing about his Tortoises… Tilly and Duke. I was blown away when he told me they spend most of the winter months hibernating in a closed space in his yard!  They actually stop eating in October, slow down and begin to emerge in early March….unreal! Tilly has been in Robert’s family for over 30 years (belonging to his mom first) and Duke was a “rescue” turtle from a school about 6 years ago.

My friend and rescue goddess, Ann DeSombre (who is also an animal control officer), has enjoyed the company of a Tortoise for 25 years….. Lucy… the family Tort who is social, responsive to everyone and even plays with the dogs and cats! When I met Lucy, I was really surprised that she comes when called, looks you right in the eye and loves attention… who knew?? I was also surprised at how HEAVY she was when I lifted her.  And she loves to have her under shell scratched… no lie… she is an East Coast Tort, so spends her spring and summer days loving the great weather.

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Hanging with Lucy!

My Tortoise humans are quick to point out that these beautiful specimens are NOT for most people. In fact, these Torts were all taken from not so great conditions. In fact, Lucy has a mild deformity in her back legs after not being properly cared for. Tortoises have a lifespan of 70 plus years!! Large Tortoises can live up to … wait for it… 100 years… so obviously making provisions for these creatures in your will is a must. And, of course, with their rarity, vet care can be extremely costly with specialized veterinary care a must.  Interesting?  Absolutely.  Beautiful and social? You bet!  The pet for everyone? NO WAY!

Visit your nearest Tortoise/Turtle sanctuary or group to get your “shell fix”!

For Pets Get Rocked, I’m Terrie Carr reminding you to ROCK with your pets!

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