5 Year Member
- Sep 8, 2013
Hello, my name is Alisha and I am a recent owner of an adorable Russian Tortoise named Walter. I will give you a little bit of background and then I have a few questions. Walter is my four year old sons Tortoise but truth be told that is just a big fat cover up for my wanting one for myself. Convincing my husband how much our little boy wanted one was the ticket and now I have "my sons" beloved Walter. Now for the sad tale as to why I wanted to get a tortoise so bad. Please don't judge me for what I am about to tell you. When I was about nine years old a sweet old man in our neighborhood gave me a little tiny California desert Tortoise, (which is illegal). The little guy was about the size of a silver dollar and I took him with me everywhere. To school, to play, it didn't matter, I loved that little Bobalot, that was his name. Well, when I was about eleven my mom told me I needed to clean my bedroom and since I let this little guy wander around my room I put him in a little suitcase and put him in the top shelf of my closet so he wouldn't get lost. Well, what do you think happened? Yes, I forgot where I had put him. I looked all over the place for Bobalot and couldn't find him. I don't know exactly how long it was but finally one day I remembered where he was and when I got him down he was so sick. His shell was so soft and I am sure up to that point he had never been cared for properly to begin with. My parents never guided me in his care, this was back in the 1970's. My mom then asked around and was told we should give him sunlight every day to help and hopefully get him healthy again. Soon after my little brother who was about four at the time, took him out of my room one saturday morning and was playing on the couch with him. When I woke up I came out to the family room and plopped myself down on the couch and to my horror it was right onto Bobalot and he was killed. I can't tell you how heartbroken I was. My mom even has pictures somewhere of the little funeral I held for him. I always felt so much guilt and that brings me to today. Really guys, please don't think I am a horrible person, I was just a kid. So, now at Fourty two years old I have another Tortoise and I am determined to give him the proper care he deserves. Sorry that got so long. So, I already have started out on the wrong foot by buying Walter from a pet store. Now, after the reading I have done I have learned this wasn't the best route. My question is now what? I have read all that I can find online but I am still not exactly clear on how to best care for him. The weather is still quite warm here in Northern Utah and so during the day I take him out into the back yard and build a little inclosure around patches of dandelions, grass and sometimes other little clovers etc. I put a pie dish with water in there and also his half log for shade. Several times during the day I take him and move the little wall to another spot so he has some shade in the heat of the afternoon and also to get him a new dandelion. I have tortoise food which he won't touch. I also have the calcium powder which I will dust the dandelions with but he always seems to find a way to eat around it. He is getting plenty of sunshine and so for now that's not a problem. I only recently learned I should be soaking him and so I have done that three times over the last week. What I am not clear on is how do I care for him in the winter? I have a large garden room with lots of sunshine but shouldn't I let him go into hibernation? I have a large basement where I could give him a place to dig and sleep and it's cool enough for him to do this. Is this what I should do? I hope I can get some help. From what I have been reading you all seem to be a very supportive group and I really hope to become a part of that. Thanks! Oh, one more thing. How do I make a profile picture and signature?