Hi from South Africa.

RussNap

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Feb 25, 2017
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South Africa
My name is Russell and I have joined your Tortoise forum to gain some Tortoise knowledge. From the different articles I have read I have already gained a lot of Tortoise know how. Thank you. Here is my rather lengthy (sorry) essay ........

My story is a little different to the norm as I don't own a Tortoise as such but I live with them! ....... A few years back I bought a holiday cottage in the small rural village setting in a lovely place called Napier which lies in the Overberg region of the Western Cape, South Africa. I stay at my cottage about three times a year. Two years ago I found a Tortoise wondering around the garden, it seemed pretty healthy and happy and I know there are wild Tortoises in the area so I just let it be.

This December past I spend over a month at the cottage, soaking up the piece and quiet of country life. Which is when I realised that I shared the space with not just one Tortoise but quite a few of them. From what I have read I think they are wild Leopard Tortoises living in their natural environment.

I have started giving them names according to their character traits to try and figure out how many of these wonderful creatures I am sharing a space with......

Firstly there is "Daisy" who loves eating Dandelion flowers, which is why she is called Daisy. She/he is the most friendly and loves to come out in the full, midday sun to hunt for her Dandelions. Often when I turn on the garden sprinkler system she will come out and shower and drink water and doesn't seem to mind me showing an interest in her.
Daisy.jpg

Then there is "Cabbage Patch" who likes to frequent the vegetable/herb garden.
Cabbage Patch.jpg
Unfortunately my photos are always taken from a distance as with the tortoises being wild they tend to get nervous if I get too close. Cabbage Patch covers rather far distances very quickly, he is always on the move.

Then there is "Mom" and "Dad" who are two larger Tortoises, I would say about 40cm long and about 15cm high, the first time I saw them one was mounting the other, hence the names.They are very shy and stay under the large shrubs most of the time. They seem to move further up the property to an area that used to be used as a horse paddock by the previous owner, there is a lot of tough thick wild grasses growing in this area.

Next up I have "Speedy" who always runs around at great speeds, high up on his legs with his shell lifted well off the ground and seems to eat just as fast while on the move.

Lastly I have "Little One" who is the smallest and I suppose youngest of them all who lives near the main gate in his own little garden.

I have checked to see what is growing in the garden and there does seem to be a sufficient variety of food for the Tortoises as there are a number of different grasses, both lawn grass and wild grass, there is a vegetable/herb garden then some of the plants growing that they like = grape vine, Hibiscus, Rose garden, Cape Honeysuckle, Dandelion, Thistle, Clovers, Chick Weed, Wild Rosemary, Succulents, Wild Gazania, Geranium and so on ...... I will be going back down to the property in April so I will add a few terracotta flowerpot bases to keep filled with water for them plus I will throw a few cuttlefish bone in the garden for them to chew on.
I apologise for this long rambling story, any advice or tips to make the Tortoises lives easier and happier would be much appreciated. At the moment my priority is to keep them wild, free,healthy and safe in their natural environment.
 

Yvonne G

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What a lucky person you are! I thoroughly enjoyed your introduction. Welcome to the Forum!
 

Markw84

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Thank you so much for sharing. Love the story. So great to see so many tortoises found "in the wild" and so close together.

Please continue to post pictures of them all. We love to see wild tortoises growing naturally. Also "cabbage patch" does not look like a Leopard tortoise and would love to see a better picture of that and the other tortoises.

Congratulations on such a great retreat you have, and you wonderful interaction with native tortoises.
 

Yvonne G

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Thank you so much for sharing. Love the story. So great to see so many tortoises found "in the wild" and so close together.

Please continue to post pictures of them all. We love to see wild tortoises growing naturally. Also "cabbage patch" does not look like a Leopard tortoise and would love to see a better picture of that and the other tortoises.

Congratulations on such a great retreat you have, and you wonderful interaction with native tortoises.

Are you thinking Cabbage Patch looks like Chersina angulata?
 

RussNap

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Feb 25, 2017
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South Africa
Thank you so much for the feedback, I did notice the triangular shapes on the sides of Cabbage Patch and thought he may be different to the other Tortoises. As I mentioned with them being wild it is difficult to get very close without scaring them. However when I get back there I will get a closer photo of Cabbage Patch. I do have short video of Cabbage Patch eating, unfortunately also from a distance, if it helps at all.
 

Tidgy's Dad

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Hello, Russell, and a very warm welcome to Tortoise Forum.:)
How fortunate you are to have all those tortoises living around your property!
I have wild torts quite near to where I live but not actually in my garden or within walking distance.
Marvelous! :tort:
 

Razan

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Russell, Welcome to the tortoise forum ! Thank you for sharing and including wonderful pictures. Speedy must be too fast for photography since his picture was not available :) Your essay is thoroughly enjoyable.
 

RussNap

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Joined
Feb 25, 2017
Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
South Africa
Thank you so much for the feedback, I did notice the triangular shapes on the sides of Cabbage Patch and thought he may be different to the other Tortoises. As I mentioned with them being wild it is difficult to get very close without scaring them. However when I get back there I will get a closer photo of Cabbage Patch. I do have short video of Cabbage Patch eating, unfortunately also from a distance, if it helps at all.
What a lucky person you are! I thoroughly enjoyed your introduction. Welcome to the Forum!
Thank you so much, looking forward to my time here at the Forum.
 

RussNap

New Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2017
Messages
13
Location (City and/or State)
South Africa
Thank you so much for sharing. Love the story. So great to see so many tortoises found "in the wild" and so close together.

Please continue to post pictures of them all. We love to see wild tortoises growing naturally. Also "cabbage patch" does not look like a Leopard tortoise and would love to see a better picture of that and the other tortoises.

Congratulations on such a great retreat you have, and you wonderful interaction with native tortoises.
Thank you, when I go down to Napier, in April, I will definitely attempt to take more and better photos of the Tortoises, especially Cabbage Patch and post them on the Forum,
 

RussNap

New Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2017
Messages
13
Location (City and/or State)
South Africa
Hello, Russell, and a very warm welcome to Tortoise Forum.:)
How fortunate you are to have all those tortoises living around your property!
I have wild torts quite near to where I live but not actually in my garden or within walking distance.
Marvelous! :tort:
Thank you so much, it is such an honour to see Tortoises roaming free, we are so fortunate to experience this.
 

RussNap

New Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2017
Messages
13
Location (City and/or State)
South Africa
Russell, Welcome to the tortoise forum ! Thank you for sharing and including wonderful pictures. Speedy must be too fast for photography since his picture was not available :) Your essay is thoroughly enjoyable.
Thank you. Actually "Speedy" is too fast, I have tried to take photos of him but he is off in a flash and under a shrub the next minute. I will attempt, once again. to get a photo of him when I go to Napier in April.
 

Grandpa Turtle 144

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Hi Russel
We all wish we could spend some time at your great property ! Thank you for your time and care of our friends !
ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1488147377.116620.jpg
 

Grandpa Turtle 144

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Thank you. It is an honor to watch the Tortoises go about their business in such a free way, they can keep me mesmerized for hours.......
I have 23 leopards and they can keep me mesmerized just watching them and please understand I have many torts . But the leopards are great !
 

RussNap

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Joined
Feb 25, 2017
Messages
13
Location (City and/or State)
South Africa
I have 23 leopards and they can keep me mesmerized just watching them and please understand I have many torts . But the leopards are great !
Oh super, i would love to watch a large group of Tortoises like that, just to see the different characters. Do you keep them all together or separate the different species?
 
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