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Johnswife 09-24-2008 06:29 PM

Southeastern shelled dogs
Well, they act like dogs in a shell!! :)

They're still babies. Sherman is 7 now and Bradley is 2. Sherm weighs about 45 pounds and is growing like a weed. She's probably going to top out at about 120 pounds. Bradley is growing like a steroid popping weed. He was less than a pound a year ago, and now he's 6 pounds. He'll probably be close to 200 pounds when he's full grown. Of course, that's going to be in about 50 years. :lol:


Bradley, hiding!!

When we brought them home a year ago, the difference in size:

Angel_Leaguer 09-25-2008 09:43 AM

thats pretty cool. Were do you keeo a turtle that big? Do you have like a pen out side or something. I know very little about turtles other then they are a pain to get off my fishing

Johnswife 09-25-2008 10:38 AM

We've got the back yard fenced for them - about half an acre. We've got another 6 acres behind a concrete block wall that runs the length of our property though. Some day I'd love to have aldabras - they're the size of the Galapagos tortoise. Amazing animals.

*Might* be going to get 2 more like Sherman this Sunday. :D

Dumas'_Grrrl 09-25-2008 11:12 AM

That's so cool!!! I have never really been around turtles other than "hey...look...a turtle" LOL.

Oh...Amazing picture quality. I wish mine looked that good.

kickshaw 09-25-2008 12:05 PM

what all do you feed a turtle?

Johnswife 09-25-2008 12:33 PM


Originally Posted by kickshaw
what all do you feed a turtle?

That depends very greatly on the species and age.

The tortoises eat 70% grass and weeds that they graze on. About 25% Mazuri Tortoise Food. Once a week I let them have some veggies - usually leafy greens. Once a month they get a fruit snack. Or in Sherman's case when she finds a pear on the ground. She shoves as much in her mouth as she can and when she sees us coming she pulls her head in as much as possible and her legs in front of her so you can't get it from her. :roll: Needless to say, I don't let her wander in the front yard where the pear tree is too often.

The box turtle hatchlings eat mostly worms. But they are outdoors too, so they also munch as they want on little bugs and flying insects in the grass and occasionally on the grass and weeds. But right now as young as they are, they need as much fat and protein as they can get, so worms usually every other day, as many as they will eat.

The adult boxies get weekly worms and graze the rest of the week. They usually wander over and eat the fruits and veggies that Bradley leaves behind. He's not a big eater of the 'junk food' which is what fruits and veggies are to them.

Johnswife 09-25-2008 12:56 PM

Here's Sherm with her prize pear, once she realized mom had given up trying to take it from her......

Moxie 09-25-2008 01:17 PM

I see, so instead of horses, you have turtles! lol

They are cute!

Dumas'_Grrrl 09-25-2008 03:01 PM

What do the turtles do in the winter? I see you are from Tn. Does it get cold and snow there much? I must sound so dumb! :roll:

I guess I always though that turtles go and hide in a warm spot for the of sight out of mind ya know?

I am really curious, I just sound silly.

Johnswife 09-25-2008 03:20 PM

You don't sound silly at all dumas'. It's not like everyone has one in their backyard. And how do you learn if you don't ask?

The tortoises don't hibernate so when the temperatures drop below 60 they need a warm shelter or to come inside. Right now the temps are getting in the low 60s / upper 50s at night, so we bought a greenhouse for them. We put lots of hay and thick, rich soil in there. The soil has added mulch and clean compost like leaves and grass clippings. As the greenhouse heats up it breaks down the compost in the soil, which generates even more heat. We'll keep a close eye on the temperatures in there as it gets cooler. Once the temps in the greenhouse drop below 62 at night - if it does - then we'll have to bring them in.

There will be a point in the worst of winter that they have to live inside with us. We've got a really big master bedroom that has 4 rooms to it - a sleeping room, bathroom, sitting room with the fireplace, and the music room, which we're turning into a walk in closet and dressing room. We've got it all divided up so we can close off rooms as needed. The big sitting room is used to house the birds year round and the tortoises in the winter.

We put up UVA / UVB lights for them in a couple corners and they each have their own 'bed'. So far we've found that if we bring them in at night and put them in their bed, which is just the bottom portion of an dog airline kennel, that they stay there. They wake up in the morning and just kind of hang out in there, buried in all the hay and wait for us to come get them and take them back outside when it's warm enough. Now, once they're in 24 hours a day I know we won't be that lucky. They'll start wandering and getting into everything. A tort Sherman's size can go through a wall that's made of drywall and hardcoat. They just chew holes in it like it's nothing. A full grown sulcata can dig / chew through concrete. They're insanely strong.

So when it gets to that point we build them wooden kennels in the sitting room at night and during the day they go in the living room and just hang out with the dogs. They'll have a light in there since that's where they'll spend most of their time. Then at night it's back to their warm dark kennel for them to sleep.

The boxies do hibernate though, so we put lots of mulch and huge piles of leaves in their pens as soon as the trees start dropping leaves. They'll hibernate on their own when they're ready, usually finding a corner they can dig a hole into under all the brush and leaves. If one is very young or seems to be under weight we pull it and keep it inside where it's warm and bright so it doesn't hibernate. It's an added stress to their body to not hibernate though, so we only do it if we really don't think they'll be able to live through the winter in hibernation.

ETA: The most fun I ever had with Sherm was last year in the winter. It was my first year having a tort inside. We'd moved from extreme southwest Florida, so our torts were outside year round. So it was a new experience for me. And I'm guessing for Sherm, as I don't think her previous owner ever allowed her out of a pen.

Anyway, she started wandering around the house and we weren't paying all that much attention until we heard a scraping sound. We turned around to find her dragging a dining room chair into the kitchen. She'd heard my daughter in there and had already learned that kitchens mean food, and by following there was a good chance that she'd get something yummy. So as she went after her there was a chair in her way, and being a 'tank', nothing gets in her way. So she walked right up against it and when we shell hit the bottom rung of the chair she just kept right on going, dragging it along with her. Very typical of their behavior, but new for me!!

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