Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Cammy, the ex-Communist Russian Tortoise

We got a new member of the family last month: a Russian Tortoise (at least, we’re pretty sure she’s a Russian). I jokingly named her Commie (after the old communist Russia), but my wife quickly put an end to that and renamed her Cammy (my wife keeps me in line). From the photo, you can see that she’s simply gorgeous.

One of my nieces found her while cleaning out a foreclosed/abandoned home. Cammy lives in our backyard now with our other tortoises. Samson, our 50-pound African tortoise, was very interested in her (perhaps too interested) but she ran away from him in terror. I’d be scared too if someone 25 times my weight started trailing after me. I’m sure they’ll get along... eventually. Samson is the friendliest tortoise you’ll ever meet: He eats out of our hand, comes when we call him (sometimes), and is always following us around. He even opened our glass sliding door once (it was slightly ajar – just enough for him to get his arm in) so he could come into the house!

Tortoise Facts: Many tortoises can go days/weeks without water. They get it from the moisture in their food, which consists mainly of weeds, hay, and grass. We happen to have 30-by-30 square feet of dichondra (clover grass) in our backyard, which happens to be their favorite thing to eat. Our African Spurred (Sulcata) tortoise also loves fruit and vegetables. He begs for them at our back door, but a zookeeper told me recently that he shouldn't have fruits more than 3 times a week.

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