Tuesday, January 29, 2013

'Picnic' lunch in front of the Tort Fort

Our kids love watching my tortoises. Sometimes we even have a lunch 'picnic' in front of the Tort Fort! 

Eating lunch and watching the tortoises bask
Ps: I don't normally feed the tortoises on a plate. The weeds and greens were just so wet, and the slate was so covered in substrate, in stead of sweeping it off, today I just put the whole plate in after sprinkling the greens with TNT. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Quarantine = done (a little early)

It has only been 6 weeks, but I just couldn't stand it any more. Jill and Mila lived with their old owner for 4 years, and were not in any contact with other tortoises during that time. They have been de-wormed (just to be on the safe side), and are acting and looking so healthy. Plus, Roz was bullying Timmy quite a bit, so I kept having to take him out of the enclosure. Hoping that the addition of 2 more females would help, I decided to move them in with Timmy and Roz now.

My very own 'bale' of tortoises. Roz, the male, is being a pillow.
Look how big Timmy is in comparison to the other two females!
Having 4 tortoises (3 females, 1 male) in the tort fort has done WONDERS. Seriously, it has been heavenly! All 4 of them bask together (rather than Roz chasing Timmy away), and rather than mating with Timmy 10+ times per day, Roz mates with the two bigger females maybe 1x per day, and he doesn't bother little Jill at all yet. Timmy is coming out more, basking and eating more, and I am overall very happy with my decision.

I took a ton more pics, and will share them with you as soon as I have time!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Mossy Tortoise Etsy shop is now open!

I am so excited to announce that I opened my tortoise-themed Etsy shop last night! One of the little paintings and a few of the tortoise flowers have already sold... I'm working hard to keep my shop stocked, and will add more items as I create them.

First, the link: Mossy Tortoise - if you purchase before Monday, you can save 15% with the coupon code "GRANDOPENING" in the last step of the check-out process.

10% of the income from this Etsy shop will be donated to International Reptile Rescue.

Here is a little sneak peak of some of the items I have listed. The "tortoise flowers" are my own little invention, and are meant to be put on a tortoise when you let them roam in your garden (with supervision, please), to make them more easily visible.

Tortoise Cozy

Tortoise Flower

Tortoise Flower

Tortoise Cozy

Tortoise Cozy

Little Greek Tortoise painting

Indian Star Tortoise Painting (SOLD!)

Greek or Hermann's Tortoise painting

Sulcata or Redfoot Tortoise painting

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Synchronized tortoise basking

I just love my little Russian tortoises so much. They make me smile every day!
...copycat,  ballet, or synchronized tortoise basking?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The crazy crocheting Tortoise Lady

...that might be me. Ever since seeing that silly picture online of the tortoise cozy, I have used the time when I'm waiting for kid-related activities crocheting tortoise cozies.

Disclaimer - just to make sure that people don't start yelling at me: these cozies are a 'for fun' tortoise fashion item that I am creating to sell in my Etsy shop. My tortoises spend their days happily exploring their tort table in the buff... no clothing necessary!

Here are the ones I've made so far:

Timmy and Jill, modelling the blue cozies

Jill, posing so elegantly

Timmy, my XL female (7.5 inches) modelling the large one I finished.

Jill on the left, Timmy (still modelling) on the right, for size comparison
Mila modelling a cozy for my Etsy shop.
I wish I could have gotten more of this awesome afternoon light...

Top view of this one - I made the holes a little larger on this one
so the tort's shell color shines through more.

Mila giving me a grumpy look - she thought wearing a cozy was very undignified.
I am almost done crocheting a 'sun flower' shell ornament that I think you will love, too...

Sunday, January 20, 2013


...that's right. I went there. I saw a picture of a 'tortoise cozy' online, and once I was done laughing, I thought, "Hey! I can totally make that!" - and so I did. 

Jill modeling the pink tortoise cozy I made today
Now, just in case you are wondering if I totally lost my mind, please rest assured: I have not. I do not plan on having my own tortoises wear these, but rather plan to sell these in my soon to be opened tortoise-themed Etsy shop. You see, I just KNOW that there are some folks out there who are crazy awesome enough to want one for their tort.

Did you know that YOUR tortoise NEEDS one of these?!
In case you are wondering where in the world I find the time to make stuff like this: when you are a Mom you have these random gaps of time where you are waiting for your kid to finish lunch, or are waiting in the car for school to get out, or are in a meeting... and I like to keep my hands busy during those times.

Disclaimer: This kind of tortoise cozy should not be used near basking lamps, as it could pose a fire hazard. This is a 'for fun' tortoise clothing item that can be worn as a 'for fun' sweater while your tortoise is having a little bit of exploring-time in your home. It is NOT intended to replace the purpose of a heat lamp. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013


I jus tlove when tortoises zonk out under their basking light!
...sooooo much relaxation!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Dirty water in 2 minutes!

Boo, our Greek tortoise is so funny. I give him fresh water every morning, and within a few minutes, he has stomped back and forth through it until it is completely soiled with coco coir.
One little piggy, stomping through his water!
I think he just likes making me look bad, when guests come over. "No really, I change his water every day!"

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Short video of Roz bobbing his head at Timmy

A Russian tortoise male bobs his head at a female as part of the courting behavior. Roz looks so funny when he does this. 

I like to imagine this is tortoise language for "How ya doin'?"

Monday, January 7, 2013

Video of Jill and Mila having a soak

My two new female Russian tortoises Jill and Mila get to have a nice soak in warm water about 1-2 times per week. This helps keep them hydrated, and it's good for their shells, too. 

I use a kitty litter pan filled with about and inch of lukewarm water. I usually end up having to dump the water out several times in the course of the soak, since tortoises like to do poop while they are in the water... but the total soak time is generally 20-30 minutes.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Boo the Greek tortoise update

My little Antakyan Greek tortoise is doing so well. He is VERY active in his new tortoise table: he RUNS all over the place, climbs all over his pumpkin and his rocks, walks through his water dish, basks for a while, then runs and clonks all over again.
It is amazing what a nice big habitat, proper UVB light, and good heat and food will do for a previously lethargic, scared tortoise.

Boo is still kind of shy
He is becoming less of a picky eater, as well. His old owner fed him mostly romaine lettuce, so for several months, Boo refused to eat anything else. My stubbornness finally won out - I gave him NO more romaine, and for a while he wouldn't touch the other, more healthy, leafy greens I offered. I just kept removing the untouched greens, and replacing them with new ones each day. Then a few weeks ago, I was pleasantly surprised to find that he had eaten most of his meal! He still has a smaller appetite than my Russian tortoises, but then again, those four are little piggies.

Boo loves being in the water
Boo's colors really come out when he's in the water soaking, which is why so many pictures that I take are of him soaking in the water. He has access to a water dish in his tortoise table, and I soak him in his big tub 1-2 times per week.

Boo = NOT an aquatic species. 
Greek tortoises are desert and steppe dwellers - they like heat, and they eat a high fiber diet of different greens and weeds. Counter to what many people believe, however, they DO need access to water in their enclosure, and they DO need to be soaked regularly to stay hydrated.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Short video of Jill eating

Jill is one of my two new Russian tortoise females, and she is super-tame. Here is a video of her eating some kale out of my hand.

Please excuse the squeaking in the background. That is Roz, my male, mating with one of my other females.