Monday, March 2, 2009

All You Need is Love, and a Dry Place to Sleep


Farewell to February, that month of hearts and love. Toulouse the tortoise did not love you, February; you were much too wet.

Last month brought rain, forcing Toulouse to stay indoors. A sun-worshiping desert fellow like that does not like to be shut in. The red lamp doesn’t fool him for a second. That is not the sun.

Toulouse has weathered wintertime in several different houses already. When he huffed and puffed and knocked down his homemade wooden house, we bought him a sturdy Rubbermaid shed. When he folded the Rubbermaid shed like a house of cards, we got a horse trough and turned it upside down. We cut a nice big doorway. We made a lamp out of an upside down flowerpot to keep him warm at night.

When the rains came and seeped under Toulouse’s new horse trough house, leaving him marinating in mud, we added a cement floor. He protested; we stuffed him inside anyway and boarded the entry until he decided it was a nice floor, after all.

When the rain on the roof of his new house pooled and threatened to short out his toasty heat lamp, we added a canopy to shelter the entire house.

And still, once in a while on a stormy night, Toulouse the desert loving tortoise will not have the sense to come in out of the rain. We’ll find him planted like a tree stump in the corner, all sopping wet and befuddled. Then we’ll climb into his yard and push and pull and heave and ho, ankle deep in mud. It’s like trying to drag a 70 lb. boulder that fights back. Eventually, we’ll manage to wrestle him back into his nice, dry house.

Oh, the things we do for love.

16 comments:

Rebecca Ramsey said...

What a good tortoise mom you are!

Bish Denham said...

LOVE the name of your tortoise. What kind of desert-loving tortoise is he? How old is Toulouse? How long have you had him? How long will he live?

I have a friend who has 2 leopard tortoises that make babies. She has made provisions for them in her will because they will most likely out-live her!

LW said...

It is funny what we do for our animals, and yes, it is love.
I just came in from outside,
we have over 8” of snow on the ground and it’s still coming down. I just spent
2 hours feeding, cleaning and putting down dry shavings for the miniature donkeys..
As well as shovel the snow all around their pen.

That turtle is amazing…
How did you happen to decide to get a turtle?

Louise

adrienne said...

Becky - As long as I keep tossing carrots to him, he seems to think so!

Bish - Toulouse is a sulcata, or African spur thigh. He's 17 now, and we've had him since he fit in the palm of my hand! They might live 100+ years...quite a commitment. How great for your friend to think ahead...

Louise - My husband and I fell in love with him in the pet store (I should post a baby pic - they are ridiculously cute).
He is pretty low maintenance compared to most outdoor pets or livestock, so I'm amazed at what people are willing to do to keep their critters comfy. And miniature donkeys - how adorable!

PJ Hoover said...

I do love my sulcatas! We have plans to make a whole tortoise farm out back :)

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Oh, poor Toulouse. That sounds miserable. Here's to finding the spot that's JUST RIGHT!

Mary Witzl said...

I love tortoises! When I was six, my father brought back nine tortoises from the Los Angeles Arboretum, where he worked. I doted on them. During the winter, all of mine dug holes in the backyard and hibernated. Either that or my parents got rid of them and couldn't bear telling me...

Toulouse is a great name. And 70 lbs is a great size.

Stacy Nyikos said...

He looks like such a sweet fellow. And he must really love you and all of the care you show him.

Kim Kasch said...

Tortoise, Toulouse, and time in the sun - all beautiful things.

Rena said...

Summer's coming, Toulouse! Hang in there!

Just curious Adrienne -- apart from building all the different homes for him, is it expensive to keep an animal like this? I only had a turtle once, but he was a little thing that wandered into our yard and didn't live long. Do you ever have to have Toulouse checked by a vet? Do you take him or do you have an exotic animal vet come over? Just curious about all these things.

adrienne said...

PJ - A tortoise farm, how fun! I'm wishing we had more space :)

Green Girl - Lucky for him it's a short rainy season. He's got a new favorite spot under an orange tree, too.

Mary - I suspect my mom helped in the escape of a few box tortoises I tried to keep when I was little...
That sounds like interesting work your dad did :)

Stacy - Well at least he seems to have a smile on his face all the time...

Kim - I'm thinking you are referring to the town Toulouse, but Toulouse thanks you anyway! :D

Rena - We have an exotic animal vet we take him to if needed. It takes two people to carry him in a plastic tub, so it's a bit of a production. I think they could make house calls, but we haven't had the need. Luckily these tortoises are pretty hardy if they have the right conditions - are kept warm and dry, get lots of direct sunlight. They eat vegetables, grass, weeds, hay...they are not too expensive to feed.
Thanks for the questions!

Sara Cox Landolt said...

This was such a great post for me to read today. I love it. I love this tortoise. I love that people have tortoises! What amazing creatures.

Paris said...

awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww I love love LOVE the turtle!! =)

I LOVE turtles! =)

Anne Spollen said...

Toulouse...that's a picture book, right there, waiting...

adrienne said...

Sara - They are amazing! It makes me feel calm to watch them.

Paris - But tell me, how do you REALLY feel about them? :-D

Anne - I like that thought!

ICQB said...

Toulouse is a lucky tortoise!