Refrigerator Hibernation!


We have cousins in the UK and we’ve heard from them that they get to hibernate in the refrigerator.  How cool is that?  Right next to the salad bar?  All day and all night, 24/7 for months. Greens, lettuces, grasses, food!  They are so so lucky.

You know we want to be a part of this.  So we approached our Person.  Why do our UK cousins get to chill out all winter in the refrigerator and we don’t?  Why do they get to snooze by the food.  Why, why, why?

Our Person told us to do our research and if we still wanted to winter in the refrigerator we could.  WooHoo!  Winter greens here we come.

But then we did our research.  These are the steps to prepare a Juvenile Tortoise for refrigerator hibernation.

This information came from:

  1. Health Check Up:  Never hibernate a sickly tortoise.
  2. Wind Down Period:  Week 1 (Days 1 – 5) No Food.  Provide the tortoise with light and heat for 10-12 hours, as normal.  During this first week the tortoise may seem hungry but DO NOT give in!
  3. Week 2 (Days 6 – 10) No Food.  Begin to turn on the heating/ lighting later and off earlier, reducing the tortoise’s
    ‘sunshine’ to approximately 8 hours.
  4. Week 3 (Days 11 – 15) No Food.  Continue to bathe daily/every other day in lukewarm water, and reduce the
    heating/lighting from 8 to 4 hours.
  5. Week 4 (Days 16 – 20) No Food. This is the time when the tortoise needs to be cooled right down to prepare it to go into hibernation. Turn off the background heating or place the tortoise in a cool frost free room.

There was more to the research than this……But we decided we don’t want to hibernate.  Not now!  Not ever!  That ‘No Food’ and ‘Do Not give in’ rule won’t work for us.  Plus just reading steps 2, 3, 4, and 5 made us kinda sickly.

Our sympathies go out to the UK tortoises that are forced into refrigerator hibernation.  We will think of you at mealtimes.

Penny and Nina.





Halloween Town Party….Next Morning!


We woke up to this horror!  

The Ping Pong Eyeballs followed us home!  And they are looking at us.

We are moving!  ASAP!

Packing up our Cuttlebones.  Booking flights to Connecticut!  

And the Ping Pong Eyeballs can’t follow.  They are on the no-fly list.

Goodbye Z-Dog.  We’ll miss you!  (Be wary of the Eyeballs!)

Penny &Nina

Halloween Town Party!

imageOur first Halloween Party!  Party games, treats and favors.  We loved the spooky goblins, the haunted house and creaky swings!

It was creepy fun.  Bats, ghosts, and witches on brooms circled overhead.  Howls and shrieks echoed through the town.  Smoky puffs of cold air floated out of cauldrons of dry ice.  It started out so good.  We ran and played and made new friends.

But when The Ping Pong Eyeballs arrived…we freaked out.  All they did were stare.  No matter where we went those Eyeballs followed.  They frightened us with their unblinking bloodshot pupils.

So when they started playing Tic Tac Toe Toe with the Candy Corn Pumpkins we snuck out.  We didn’t even tell anyone we were leaving.  We just ran home as fast as we could and hid under the substrate.

Maybe we don’t like Halloween so much after all.

Penny and Nina.


Texas Map Turtles! By Penny.

Texas Map Turtle photos by Carl J. Franklin.   Sept. 2017

Our Person and The Watcher went to an event sponsored by the Turtle Survival Alliance and showed us these pictures of Texas Map Turtles taken by Carl J. Franklin during a recent turtle population study at Bull Creek, Austin, Tx.

I’m in love!  Aren’t those turtles gorgeous?  Look at that incredible detail!  Who knew such beautiful creatures exist?  And live in the waters of the Colorado River and its drainages?

I absolutely had to find out more about them, so I did my research:

“Map turtles get their name from their appearance. Their carapace (the top/dome portion of their shell) has designs on it that resembles those seen on some maps. Specifically, it has been noted that the lines on their shells look like waterways on a map. These lines are often a yellow or orange color, with darker colors in between them such as greens and browns. The lines on the map turtles shell can fade some as they age.

In addition to the lines on their shell, map turtles also have thicker lines on their face and limbs. The lines are often a bright yellow, and for many specimens; they are even more noticeable than the “map lines” on their shell.

All of these bright colors and unique designs make map turtles fairly exotic looking despite the relative ease in acquiring one as a pet. While not often regarded as the most ideal pet turtle, they are certainly one of the more handsome looking genera of pet turtle.”

A pet?  I could have one as a pet?  A new friend?  I was so excited.  I told Our Person I wanted my very own Texas Map Turtle!  

But she said, “No! That is an aquatic fresh water turtle and you are a tortoise.”


So then I asked Our Person for orange, yellow, green and brown colored markers. 

When Nina fell asleep I drew lines to look like waterways all over her.  On her shell, her legs, her neck, her head. Even a tiny map line on her tiny tail.  She had transformed into a Texas Map Turtle!  She was beautiful!  Beautiful!  Beautiful!

But Our Person didn’t appreciate my artwork.  She said she was ‘disappointed’ in me.  She said to never, ever, ever draw, paint or change the appearance of a turtle.  Every turtle is beautiful in their own way.

Sigh…I’m grounded…again!

(Which is totally unfair!   Nina loved the new look.  I loved the new look.  Our Person is the only one who didn’t.)





Hurricane Harvey: Left Behind!

21731737_10155467155821328_7236173088984671892_o                                   Alligator Snapping Turtle!

After the flood waters receded in Houston, something was left behind.  It was really big.  Like 90 pounds.  With a foot long carapace.  And kinda scary looking.  What was it?  Where did it come from?  Why was it’s mouth open?  Was it calling for help or….hungry?

The news story reported that it was an Alligator Snapping Turtle!  A turtle?  Really?  He’s related to us?  No way!  There is no family resemblance at all.  None!

We booted up the computer and learned that Alligator Snapping Turtles live in water.  Is that why he’s muddy colored?  Is he dangerous?  We read further and yup, it’s dangerous.  He’ll eat anything he can find including turtles.  Our relative would eat us?  Hide Houston turtles!

He has powerful jaws, a long, spring-like neck and ridges on his shell.  Just like an alligator.  He moves fast.  And when he grabs his dinner he will not let go.  Ever!

But back to the news story:  He was found on a street in Houston after the flood waters receded.  And you can see in the picture…he wasn’t happy.  Not one bit!  It took four people to wrangle him and get him off the streets.  Thank you Houston Police Department, Houston SPCA, Wildlife Center of Texas, Texas Parks and Wildlife Division, and the Turtle Survival Alliance for returning him to his home in the Buffalo Bayou.   That angry dude is back where he belongs.  Houston turtles are finally safe.

Hurricane Irma:  Left Behind!

When Hurricane Irma blew through baby sea turtles in Fort Pierce, Florida were affected.  The high surf and strong winds churned the water and seaweed, imprisoning a bunch of baby sea turtles.  But nice people came to their rescue.  They dug through piles and piles of seaweed looking for our tiny cousins.  They rescued 50 to 60 baby sea turtles and saved nine eggs from the angry waters.

This is what we learned from the recent hurricanes:

We don’t like them.  They are loud, wet, windy and destructive.

We never ever want to meet our cousin, Alligator Snapping Turtle.

We are happy our cousins, Baby Sea Turtles were saved.

Turtles should seek shelter during a hurricane.  (Our person takes us to an small room in the center of the house.  It’s really cozy with three people, us two Marginated Tortoise hatchlings, and Z-dog).

Penny and Nina.

P.S.  Person’s friend?  You’re building a moat?  You can find Alligator Snapping Turtle at Buffalo Bayou.