Let me introduce you to - Barack and Michelle- wonder who they are named after?
They were rescued from a plastic box in Rabat Medina here in Morocco- a man was selling hundreds of them. We got Michelle (pronounced my shell) first and returned a year later to save Barack.
Generally they laze around sunning themselves. Early morning they ease out slowly and then plonk themselves down with legs out so the sun’s rays warm their bodies – this gets them going –for all their cuteness they are cold blooded- so this is rather like the caffeine rush after the second cup of coffee in the morning.
Warming up- Michelle eats at the same time! Their legs
sticking out are cute!
Then it’s munching-hibiscus, mulberries, various grasses, flowers and thistle even seedlings in pots! Maybe supplemented by cucumber, pumpkin, tomato, lettuce or strawberry if I’m feeling in the mood to feed them- otherwise they have to forage.
Michelle is getting large but Barrack is still a little guy.
Then a lazy day behind the flower pots half in the sun half in the shade-ideally beneath a spider plant.
They can be quite shy and hide.
Sometimes they run races – yes they can run!- but that is mainly Barack chasing Michelle. Or pursuing the quest to get past the front door and explore- Michelle likes the bottom of the bookcase and climbing the foot pedal of my sewing machine- maybe she wants to make something? Barrack just wants to look around and examine the perimeter of the new space- sizing up the real estate.
Now and then they bury themselves in the soil- it’s really too warm here in Morocco for them to hibernate properly- they are nomadic too and every few months change routine- different sleeping place-different snoozing place and different sunning place and different food.
Late afternoon- A little exercise climbing some rocks and jumping off the top path into the flower bed- have to be careful to land the right way up and not roll over.
Then it’s a little snack before bed.
Another busy day is over .Time to go to bed.
Life is much more fun here than the Medina box.
Facts and snippits about Tortoises.
Tortoises have a doomed shell above them fused to a flat shell beneath them which protects them from predators. The skin on their heads and legs is soft so they can retract them inside their shell.
People often confuse them with turtles which love water and have flippers. Tortoises have claws and live only on land.
They are reptiles and cold blooded.
They are herbivores and don’t eat meat.
They don’t have teeth but have horny mouths.
They have a life span equivalent to humans with some species living up to 150 years.
They like their own company and are quite reclusive. They like to sleep at night-with some form of protection or shelter.
Males generally have longer necks and females longer claws!
A word of advice...........Don’t get up close to a tortoise in open toed sandals. They are likely to converse with your big toe and in Barack’s case give it a nip if he thinks you might be a female tortoise!
They can be quite smart too. You have no doubt heard the fable about the hare and the tortoise