Friday, April 26, 2013

Customer appreciation pics - I love them!

One of my MossyTortoise customers just sent me some adorable pictures of her tiny 3-inch hatchling wearing the custom cozy I made for her wee Greek tortoise. Thank you, Amanda!

Amanda's cute hatchling Greek

Cute li'l baby...

So much cuteness!

Haha, her expression is priceless.

Can you believe how tiny this is?

I used thinner yarn and a smaller crochet hook to make this one -
so it would still have the level of detail of the larger ones.

I LOVE getting pictures from  my customers, so I'll sequentially post a few on here, with permission, of course.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

We're busy, but all is well in our little tortoise herd!

It has been a while since I had time to post... we've been busy! (I've been crocheting tortoise cozies instead of taking pics of the tortoises...) Our Russian tortoises as well as our Greek tortoises are doing well. In the picture below, they are freshly bathed, so they look all shiny... 

Feeding frenzy in the tort fort
I am working on converting an oak bookshelf into an enclosure for Lady, by the way. I plan to post instructions with pictures. :)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

New HUGE female Russian tortoise

Getting another Russian tortoise really wasn't part of my plan... but then I met Lady, the XXL-sized female Testudo horsfieldi. Before seeing her in person I had no idea she was this big. She comes with an interesting story - more about that below (for those of you who are interested). We named her Lady, short for Lady Liberty, because she was found roaming free.

That's right. She weighs 1076g... and is actually a little skinny!
When I first brought Lady home and weighed her before soaking her, she looked dehydrated and weighed 1014g (The picture above is of her hydrated weight!). I soaked her (she drank and drank!), fed her (she ate an entire HUGE dandelion plant, some dead-nettle, and some wild geranium , and put her under the heat lamp. She spent the rest of the day dozing under the warm light.

Lady, chowing down on a pile of weeds
This morning when I weighed her again after her soak, she weighed a whopping 1076g. I did a double-take, checked my scale, and weighed again. Yep 1076g was right. Originally, I was planning just to foster her, but considering her magnificent size, I just can't let her go. She's in quarantine for 6 months, but will get a partition of the outdoor enclosure, and by winter I'll have built her a nice big indoor enclosure, too. She's too big to share with the others, but next Spring I plan to introduce our male to her for a little honeymooning.

Lady, basking - I wonder how long it's been since she was warm?

Now her story:
I saw a post on Craigslist that a tortoise had been found wandering on the street. The finder was looking for the previous owner. Mind you, we live in the cold, rainy Pacific Northwest. I sent the woman a message stating that this certainly was not one of mine, but that I could care for it for her, and if it was female keep it, otherwise find a good home (after de-worming and ensuring it was healthy). The finder said she would wait first to see if someone answered her ad or the papers she hung around the neighborhood. Then on Sunday evening I got a message from her stating that the old owner did indeed contact her, but that this person was very rude and had stated that she had purposefully set the tortoise free so it could "live more happily in the wild." *WTH?* The finder had the presence of mind to offer finding a new home for the tortoise... so she offered it to me. I asked her for some pics, and this was obviously a female (stubby wedge shaped tail), but the I couldn't tell how big she was.

When I got to the finder's house and saw the tortoise, I did a double-take, because this tortoise was SO BIG. She is 7+ inches, and almost as wide as she is long. I expected her to be longer when I measured her, because she looks so big and heavy, but a lot of her weight comes from her width - my guess is that she is of the Kazachstani subgroup.

Interestingly, for all the previous neglect, her shell is actually in good shape, and so is her beak. She has some wear on her plastron, and I did treat a few spots of shell rot. The old owner just let her wander the yard all Summer, and kept her in a box or something during the winter. But at least she got real UV and good weeds to eat during the warm season. She was dehydrated when I got her, but overall seems to be healthy. And have I mentioned that she is huge?

Lady, all clean after a soak, with a VS card for size comparison.
In case you are wondering why she is on brown paper bags, she has worms, so I'm treating her with Panacur. As soon as she is all clear, she will get wonderful, soft coconut coir to burrow in!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Tortoises sunbathing 'in the nude'...

While I am having fun creating tortoise flowers and tortoise cozies for my Etsy shop, and modeling them on my own tortoises for cute pics, the fact remains that in the end, good old nude tortoises in good old real sunshine are still the best.

Timmy, my large female, basking

We had some beautiful weather here last weekend, so I let the torts roam around the grass in the sunshine. Even with good artificial UVB lights, tortoises are still happiest and healthiest in the 'real' sunlight. 

Roz, my male, right after being hosed down with some nice warm water
I am working hard on finishing the Russian tortoises' outdoor enclosure, so soon they will be able to spend most of the day outside.

Little Jill, photogenic as always
Until then, I have to enlist my kids to help me keep track of the tortoises while they walk around... or I let them spend time outside one at a time...

Roz, enjoying the sun rays
 Look at Roz' shell (above). It is finally starting to grow normally, with growth all around the scutes.

Jill, resting in the grass after walking all about
 I am very curious to see what little Jill looks like when she is fully grown. She is so gorgeous now, but I suspect that as the darker colors fill in, she will probably look fairly 'normal' - which I am totally fine with.

Jill, exploring
 Jill was described to me as 'very timid' but really, she is quite the little go-getter.

Jill, again, hiding in the grass
I somehow missed taking pictures of Mila in this set. So here is a picture of her from the day before:

Mila, eating a dandelion. Gotta love that pink tongue!
I hope we have many more of these beautiful, sunny days!

Friday, April 5, 2013

...Tortoise Cozy video?!

Look what I just found. A video has been compiled, showing off my tortoise cozies!

Ha. Who would have thought?!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

My Tortoise cozies.... went VIRAL?!

This is just too fun! A friend sent me a link to a feature of my tortoise cozies on Neatorama... and then someone else told me that they are on Laughing Squid, too. As it turns out, they are now featured ALL OVER THE PLACE.

Mila taking a big bite out of a dandelion
Who would have thought that my funny little yard finder flowers and tortoise sweaters would become famous? (I suspect this will be a very fleeting fad... but it is fun, nonetheless!)

Mila wandering around the lawn in a 'yard finder' flower
It just so happens that I took some new pics of the tortoise cozies and yard finders... I was able to crochet some new ones this weekend during our road trip. Enjoy!

Boo strutting his stuff in a purple yard finder

Roz, posing in a 'target' yard finder

Roz, wearing a 'propeller' yard finder

Jill in a tortoise cozy

Timmy in a size L tortoise cozy

Jill in a small tortoise cozy - I love this color!

Jill in a tortoise cozy again

Rawr! Dinosaur-themed tortoise cozy!

Mila in a 'spiral' tortoise cozy

Timmy in a large blue cozy

Mila in a yard finder flower

Doing a quick search, I found my tortoise cozies at the following links:
...and that's not even counting all the tumblr posts...

... I think it is safe to say that my tortoise cozies and tortoise yard finders have gone viral?!

Jill being a stegosaurus

The tortoise cozies and yard finders have been selling as fast as I can make them. At this rate, the tortoise are going to have a REALLY NICE outdoor enclosure, since 90% of my MossyTortoise Etsy shop income goes towards my own tortoises... and the other 10% get donated to International Reptile Rescue. :)