Saturday, 2 October 2010

Hibernation Hide and Seek!

Over the last few days the rain has been falling pretty much constantly here.  Hibernation time is getting ever closer and the tortoises sense it.  Obviously tortoises are not designed to live in the UK and so they need a little help.  My lot have heated huts and at night I always like to check they are safely tucked up.  I normally pop down the garden at dusk and do a head count in the huts.  The Hermanns tortoises are really good at getting themselves in and I rarely have to hunt about for them, but the big old Spur thighs are less reliable, although once I know who is missing, I know them well and I know where to look, so its not too difficult. 

Thursday night the plan some how went a little wrong.  I went to the Theatre and didn't get back until 11pm.  I popped down with my torch just for peace of mind as it was cold and raining.  All the spur thighs were tucked up, but when I checked the 'relliable' Hermanns, there was one missing.  Iris my smallest at just 400g had gone AWOL.  I set too in the rain hunting round with my torch , scared I would stand on her in the dark, but she was no where to be seen.  After about twenty minutes I decided that I would have to trust that her instincts were strong and that she had dug down in the ground for the night.

On Friday I got up early to look in the rain, I came home frome work at lunch time to search and had to change before retuning to work, I was so wet!  Last night, again in the rain I hunted, but Iris was well and truly hidden. 

Thank God for the Sunshine this morning.  I collected all the other Hermanns tortoises up and put them in the bath for a soak ( don't worry it's good for them).  Maggie the dog, went into hiding under the arm chair, thinking the bath might be running for her.  I didn't dare tell her that I had worse than that planned for her today... a wash, cut and blow dry at the poodle parlour!!

With all other Shelled beings safely out of the way and armed with my plastic trowel, the forensic style scour of the land began.  Can you see a tortoise?

Thankfully, the sunshine had done it's trick and Iris was on the way up from her underground shelter and so much easier to find.  She had strayed to an out of bounds area, by digging under a little fence I had made.  The weather had probably truned mean and cold and Iris didn't have enough energy to get back to the hut.  Thankkfully her instincts are good and she had dug down.  I am actually over the moon that she did this as she spent the first three years of life in an artificial glass tank environment before coming to me and I wondered if she still had tortoise style abilities.

She sat in my sink to be cleaned... Yuck!

Before heading back out with her mates.
Iris is the one at the bottom of the picture!


  1. Oh bless her! The first time one of mine dug down into the ground, I thought it was going to suffocate and I kept pulling it back out again. So glad you found her in the end.

  2. Hello! Thank you for the nice comment on my blog! I see that you crochet beautifully and you are new to blogland so WELCOME! and have a great we!

  3. That is so clever (and funny of her). I can't believe you found her just from a slight glimpse of her pebbled back - although I guess you knew what you were looking for. Love Kate, xxooxx.