I went on a walkabout without permission.  And now I’m in big trouble.

To quote our Person, “You girls asked for a bigger space to winter inside.  So I gave you full access of the bathroom so that you could run and play.  I gave you ping pong balls to scoot around.  Some of your greens are served in a ball so that you can chase after your food.  I rearrange your rocks and climbing boards every day to create new challenges.  Your life is perfect.  Why did you try to escape?  Why?”

Well….we are tortoises.  And tortoises love to explore.  And we don’t like doors.  Especially closed doors.  But this time the door was open.  Just a tiny bit.  Sweet!

So Nina and I planned our mission.  She’s the brainy one.  I’m the brave one.  I would be the scout.  Nina would follow after I cleared the way.

I was excited beyond excited.  That closet door is a barrier to unexplored lands.  Everyday we  bump it with no luck.  But this time, it worked.  The door creaked open enough for one tortoise to fit through.  Perfect.

And oh…the inside of that place is amazing.   Like an amusement park.  So many things to see.  So many things to do.  So little time to clear the way and get Nina inside too.

First thing was to rub against a mud encrusted boot to camoflage my shell.  The more mud the better.

What to do next?  And then I spotted it.  The purse that our Person carries.  She takes it everywhere when she leaves us.  There must be something really cool in there.  And it was on the floor so…..I scooted into that thing to check it out.  Boring!  Mud dropped off my shell but I didn’t waste time cleaning it up.  Person probably won’t notice.  It’s just mud.

Then something sparkly and glittery and shiny caught my eye.  I had to explore the sparkly thing.  Was it a diamond?  I hoped so.  I heard that diamonds are a girl’s best friend.

I was headed that way when I heard it.

Penny, where are you?  Penny?  Penny?

Uh, oh.  That sounded like our Person.  I had to hide.  I picked up speed, moving my little legs as fast as they would go.   The sparkly thing was calling to me.  I had to get there!  Hurry Penny hurry.  Sanctuary was within reach!  I was going to make it. The shiny thing would protect me.

And then everything happened in a flash.  The closet door flew open.  An overhead light popped on.  A long shadow fell over me.  The sparkly thing dimmed.   I stopped dead in my tracks and played possum.  I heard that was the thing to do.  But that was a bad call.

Because seconds later I found myself back inside my tiny plastic cement mixing tub home.  Bummer!

What I learned from this…Run faster.  Hide better.  And figure out how to blame it on Nina.   I’m pretty sure it was all her idea.

P.S. Some or all of this tale may or may not be true.  It’s true that I snuck into the closet unsupervised.  It’s true that I ended up in my tiny plastic cement mixing tub.  It’s true that no tortoises were injured in the telling of this adventure.  And, most important, it’s true that it was all Nina’s fault.




Book Review: by Nina and Penny.

The 24th Life, by Michele Mathews

Spoiler Alert – We aren’t allowed to read this book.  We are only one years old.

So all we can tell you is that it is a love story that spans 24 lives; sometimes the black sheep wins; and the cover has the coolest artwork.  And we hope, hope, hope that there are tortoises in there too.

Available on Amazon.



Penny, Nina & Little Ugly Jeff.



The Watcher surprised us with a box trunk last week.  We just had our first birthday so we knew it was a gift for us!  We love gifts.  We couldn’t wait to see what was inside.

He plopped that big old box on the floor right next to our cement mixing tub home.  We peeked over the side for a better look.  Maybe he had ordered more Marginated Tortoise hatchlings from Connecticut.  If he did we would need a bigger home, which we’ve been begging for.  We hoped it was more hatchlings!  Please let it be more hatchlings.

But then….The Watcher left the room.  Before he opened our gift!  Why?  Where did he go?  Was he coming back?

Before we got answers something strange happened.  Something moved inside the box.  A barely audible sound seeped out of trunk, (maybe hatchlings?) followed by a louder sound (probably not hatchlings), and an even louder sound (definitely not hatchlings).

It got so loud we had to cover our ears.  It was like fingernails scratching across a chalkboard.  It was terrible, terrible, terrible!  The Watcher had abandoned us.  He left us at the mercy of some horrible, fingernail scratching monster.

We made a mad dash to our substrate to hide…when we heard something else!  Words!  We heard words.  From the box trunk.  We took a deep breath, gathered all our courage and retraced our steps.  The closer we got the more we heard.  Something inside was talking.  And what the voice said made us quake in fear.

The voice shouted:  “Hide me!  I ran away from the Jeff Dunham tour.  The Purple Peanut was mean to me.  I never want to go back there.  Ever.  Help me.  Please help!”

Our first thoughts were,  “No way.  We don’t know what a Purple Peanut is.  And we sure don’t want him to be mean to us…..so you’re on your own, scary voice.”

By that time The Watcher returned gripping a huge, sharp bladed knife.  He must have been scared of what was inside too.  He was prepared to kill it and protect his family. Us two hatchlings huddled together.  Praying that The Watcher would survive whatever was inside the box trunk.  We held our breath while he took that knife and slit open the top with one long swipe.  The box top popped open and the voice got louder.

If this was a birthday gift for us we didn’t want it anymore.  We told The Watcher to re-tape that box and return to sender.  Demand a refund!  But The Watcher didn’t listen to us.  We quivered in fear as he bravely reached inside and pulled out…a dummy.  Who introduced himself as Little Ugly Jeff.

Little Ugly Jeff told us this sad (probably made up story) about being forced to be part of the Jeff Dunham tour and how a Purple Peanut controlled his words. He asked for sanctuary at our house.

He is staying on a trial basis.  But there are rules! He’s not allowed to share our tiny cement mixing tub.  He’s not allowed to eat our winter greens.  And he has to clean up his language.  He had a ‘potty mouth’ on the show – he blames the Purple Peanut.

~ Penny and Nina……and Little Cutie Jeff!



Our Blog was Almost Hacked!

imagePart of our journey to Texas included a plane ride.  At airport check in we saw lots of people waiting in a long line.  At the front of the line was a big sign that read:

Has your luggage been out of your sight?  Could someone have planted something in your carry on bag?  Do you have more than one ounce of hand sanitizer in your purse?  A snap pop in your shoe?

We didn’t see anything posted about tiny tortoises hiding in plastic deli soup bowls headed to Texas.  What does that say about security?  And what is wrong with hand sanitizer?  Our Person rubs it on her hands every time she touches us.

We hear that airline security isn’t the only concern in America.  Viruses can take over computers.  And people post fake news on social media.

We didn’t believe that ‘fake news’ thing until we saw it with our own four eyes.  Our Person, who loves us and feeds us and cleans up our poops, tried to post awful things under our names.


We love our tiny cement mixing tub home.

We are looking a bit chubby for our age.

Our daily soak is the best part of the day!

We love Z-dog’s wet nose on our shell.

Fake news, Fake news, Fake news, Fake news!


We think something is wrong with Person.  She just unwrapped a big glass turkey and pumpkin and set them on Kitchen Island.   The plastic green army men won’t like that.

~ Penny and Nina!


Vampire Turtles!



‘Vampire’ Turtle

This is a rare red-ear ‘Vampire’ turtle I found on the road 6 months ago. He tries to bite me every time I pick him up. But is friendly in the water and at feeding time, so go figure. They say turtles do not have teeth or fangs? This is Bela Turtlegosi, ready to put the bite on you!
–Michael S Godar

Penny and Nina Here…..

Vampire Turtles exist!  They really do!  Look at those fangs.  They send shivers down your shell, right?

Everyone’s heard the horror stories.  Vampire Turtle hides under the substrate.  Or lurks behind a big rock.  Or in the deep recess of your favorite cave.  And strikes when you least expect it.  If you don’t tuck into your shell quick enough, Vampire Turtle will …..  the story gets really scary here and we refuse to listen.  We cover our ears and shut our eyes really tight.  Hear no evil….see no evil…no evil. (So we don’t know what happens if you don’t tuck in fast enough.  If you want the rest of the story you can computer search Vampire Turtles.)

But until we saw this picture….we thought the Vampire Turtle was just a thing.  A legend told every Halloween night when turtles huddle together at a fire pit, deep in the woods, at midnight, protected by their hard shells.  A story to scare us and send us scurrying back to the safety of our tiny plastic cement tub/homes.

But it’s a thing.  A real thing.  A turtle with fangs.  How did that happen?  Is it a mutant?  A cross between a turtle and a vampire?  Where is reptile control when you need them?

Should we attend our first Halloween night by the fire pit?  Yes!  Are we scared?  A little.  But that Vampire Turtle will not keep us from enjoying traditions handed down from parents, grandparents, all the way back to dino-era ancestors.  We will attend Halloween night at the fire pit.

But ….we are only 9 months old.  And probably don’t run as fast as older turtles.  And we’re small and super cute.  If a Vampire Turtle shows up we’re probably his first target.

So we’ve prepared.  We are taking Z-dog with us.  He has fangs too.

Nina and Penny.











Vampire’ Turtle

This is a rare red-ear ‘Vampire’ turtle I found on the road 6 months ago. He tries to bite me every time I pick him up. But is friendly in the water and at feeding time, so go figure. They say turtles do not have teeth or fangs? This is Bela Turtlegosi, ready to put the bite on you!
–Michael S Godar


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.