Hi from South Africa.

Aaron K.

Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2016
Messages
33
Location (City and/or State)
Rochester New York
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.
View attachment 200735

Then there is "Cabbage Patch" who likes to frequent the vegetable/herb garden.
View attachment 200736
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.
wow what a wonderful story. I'm a bit jealous. Some grey pictures too.thank yo for sharing
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.
View attachment 200735

Then there is "Cabbage Patch" who likes to frequent the vegetable/herb garden.
View attachment 200736
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.
Wow what a great story. I'm a bit jealous. Welcome to the forum and thanks for sharing.
 

RussNap

New Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2017
Messages
13
Location (City and/or State)
South Africa
RussNap, welcome and thank you for sharing what I hope will be a continuing story! It's great.
Thank you. I definitely will post an update on how the Tortoises are doing whenever I go down to Napier, my next planned trip is in April, I cant wit to see what they are up to.
 

RussNap

New Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2017
Messages
13
Location (City and/or State)
South Africa
wow what a wonderful story. I'm a bit jealous. Some grey pictures too.thank yo for sharing

Wow what a great story. I'm a bit jealous. Welcome to the forum and thanks for sharing.
Thank you for the welcome, I am pleased you liked the story, it is so special to see the Tortoises living their lives freely.
 

JSWallace

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2017
Messages
911
Oh Russell your cottage with tortoises sounds just perfect. Reading your post from a very wet and cold UK made me just a little bit jealous!
 

RussNap

New Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2017
Messages
13
Location (City and/or State)
South Africa
Oh Russell your cottage with tortoises sounds just perfect. Reading your post from a very wet and cold UK made me just a little bit jealous!
Hi, yes this is a lovely area, however this time of the year the Western Cape is so very dry I wish we had just a little bit of your wet weather. The tortoises do seem to love the heat ........
 

JSWallace

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2017
Messages
911
Hi, yes this is a lovely area, however this time of the year the Western Cape is so very dry I wish we had just a little bit of your wet weather. The tortoises do seem to love the heat ........
Hi Russell, yes I had heard that you were struggling for water over there at the moment, it's being rationed ? I think you would soon tire of our wetness, I crave some hot sunshine!
 

RussNap

New Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2017
Messages
13
Location (City and/or State)
South Africa
Hi Russell, yes I had heard that you were struggling for water over there at the moment, it's being rationed ? I think you would soon tire of our wetness, I crave some hot sunshine!
Yes Cape Town has very strict water restrictions at the moment, all the major supply dams are extremely low, which is rather frighting. Luckily Napier, which is about 170 km from Cape Town,has its own water supply so the situation is not as drastic.
 

JSWallace

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2017
Messages
911
Yes Cape Town has very strict water restrictions at the moment, all the major supply dams are extremely low, which is rather frighting. Luckily Napier, which is about 170 km from Cape Town,has its own water supply so the situation is not as drastic.
Yes it was Cape Town that I was reading about, it must actually be very worrying. I presume you have had a summer that's much drier than you would normally expect?
 

teresaf

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
2,024
Location (City and/or State)
Port Charlotte, Florida
What would be nice that you can do for your tortoises is to make a shallow water source for them. A bird bath top or two sunk into the ground works well for the less handy. It looks great too in a garden. The birds would be appreciative as well!
 

TammyJ

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2016
Messages
3,047
Location (City and/or State)
Jamaica
I wonder where they get water during a drought like this, and how long they can survive without it.
 

Pearly

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2015
Messages
5,294
Location (City and/or State)
Central Texas, Austin area
Hi Russell, I loved reading your introduction! Thank you for sharing this wonderful story. I myself am relatively new to the tortoise world. My then 10 yr old daughter felt she was ready for her first pet and I agreed as she is wise beyond her years. After lots of 10yr old type of research she announced having chosen a sulcata!..... we live in suburbs in a house with a yard, but not acres of it! Just a typical subdivision yard, so after some talking about pro's and con's she had agreed that a big tortoise would likely need a lot more space to roam. She then set her pretty brown eyes on the Redfooted species... Ok then! RF it is! but this was before I knew about this Forum, we wanted to give a little one a companion of it's own kind and calling the breeder ordered 2 hatchlings: one- Northern Redfoot and the other- Brazilian Cherryhead, thinking: "this way we can easily tell them apart". Then I joined the Forum and learned a lot about tortoise keeping, including the piece about torts being "solitary species"... by then we were already so in love with both of them, there was no "returning" or rehoming one. We started working hard on "making things work". This was almost 2 yrs ago. Our "babies" have been growing by leaps and bounds and time spent on this forum has become my mental getaway, and a place to make all kinds of new friends from all over the globe. I hope you find the Forum to be as great of a place to spend time as I have. It is wonderful to have you. Very warm welcome from the edge of Texas Hill Country to you and your "shelled brigade". ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1489471317.431224.jpg my now - juveniles (though we still call them "babies") Shellie (the darker carapace with yellow head) and Tucker (the Cherryhead) say hello as well from their routine bath:)
 

JSWallace

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2017
Messages
911
Hey Russell, are you back in Napier yet? Can't wait for update on the torts there!
 
TortoiseSupply.com

New Posts

Top