Wednesday, November 7, 2012

How we got Roz

After we had Timmy (our female) for a little over a year and a half, I was able to convince my husband to let me get a friend for her. Strictly speaking, Russian tortoises don't need to be kept in multiples. In the wild they rarely intersect with others of their kind, and they don't get lonely. I had however read that it is really fun to watch tortoises interact with each other. I can tell you first-hand that this is true!

Yet again I started watching Craigslist. I finally found a small Russian tortoise that had been gifted to a little girl for Christmas a few months before. The little girl had grown bored with the pet, and so her mother was looking for a new home. I drove about 45 mins to pick up the little one - he was living in a 10 gal tank with no hide spot, and a bowl full of veggies. He was a young male, a lot smaller than Timmy at about 5.5 inches, and he still had a baby face (more flat, shorter beak). His shell had a little bit of pyramiding (which looks quilted in RTs), and the growth ring on one side was a lot wider than on the other... most likely due to being fed the wrong kind of food. His eyes were clear and sparkly, and he peed on me the moment I picked him up. We left the tank behind, as pre-arranged with the old owner. My oldest son named him Roz.

First meeting of Timmy and Roz

Once we got home, I gave him a bath, and introduced him to Timmy on the floor (this was before I was aware of the necessity of 3-6 months quarantine, but thankfully, no harm came of this). It was so funny: Timmy started nodding her head at Roz as if she was saying: "How ya doin'?" to which Roz answered by bobbing his head.

Timmy and Roz walking around their enclosure
For the first few weeks, Roz very cautiously approached Timmy, bobbing his head at her... and Timmy bulldozed him every time. This was so funny to watch, but I also felt a little sorry for Roz... Timmy pulled her head in, and then approached Roz tank-style, bulldozing him into the corner, and then she walked away with a bit of a swagger. 
After a while, thankfully, this behavior stopped, and they seemed to get along splendidly, basking together, sleeping together, eating together. When I let them walk around a room or the yard, they follow each other everywhere.

Best friends, now

This Summer Roz suddenly figured out that he is a boy tortoise, and started courting and mating with Timmy. He is so much smaller than Timmy, and his voice is so squeaky... it makes us laugh every time. I was hoping for eggs this Fall, but Timmy didn't lay any. Maybe next year...

Next chapter: how I rescued and rehabilitated a malnourished, injured little Russian tortoise.

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