He (she?) is a sulcata tortoise. An itty bitty baby tortoise. Yes with a straw on it's back. Let me explain. It's a marker for when s/he is outside roaming the yard so we don't lose him (her?). Inside s/he is in a "turtle table" so we take the straw off.
[Gender is still unknown. Hence the unisex name. But we call Frankie a boy so that's the pronoun I'm going to stick with today.]
We have had Frankie since he was a mere 9 days old. He was even tinier then! And much needier too! And honestly at that point I wasn't sure I could actually keep him alive...while simultaneously taking care of my four kids too. So I didn't write about him then. I didn't want to have to report his demise shortly after introducing him. But he's made it...
to a whopping SIX MONTHS of life! I think he's here to stay. As long as I can keep that fierce looking predator away from him. (Don't worry I don't let Levi roam free at the same time as Frankie without close supervision. Because clearly Levi thinks he looks like a fun toy.)
The back story on Frankie goes a little something like this:
Shortly after moving to Texas one of Joe's co-workers convinced Joe that he should get his kids a tortoise for a pet. This co-worker rescues tortoises and currently has 9 tortoises on her property. I was not so convinced. So last summer Joe took the kids and me out to her property too meet the tortoises. "Just to see". Of course the kids wanted one right then and there! I on the other hand was still skeptical. However they seemed like easy enough pets. They live outside and eat weeds. And occasional vegetables. Easier than a dog in fact. (Incidentally many years ago we promised Isaiah a dog for his 8th birthday. Little did we know that on Isaiah's 8th birthday we would be moving cross-country as a family of six with the youngest member being 4 months old...not exactly an ideal time to get a dog!) So a month or so later when we got the call that there was a tortoise that needed a home I said "yes". A hesitant yes. And the kids were thrilled.
Turns out baby tortoises aren't quite as easy as an adult tortoise to have as pet. But we are figuring it out. And he's still here*. And the kids love having a pet. So I'm calling it a success!
Frankie the tortoise. Never in a million years would I have thought I would have a tortoise for a pet. Then again I never thought I'd live in Texas either. Never say never, right?
*One of the first days I allowed Frankie to roam the yard not in his pen I could NOT find him when it was time to bring him inside. I searched and searched our backyard. Then I had the kids + a friend search the backyard. All without any luck. I was convinced a bird or cat snatched him up. I felt terrible. I was sure I had (inadvertently) killed my kids' first pet. I sent Joe a dozen panic filled texts. He came home (with a fountain Pepsi for me) walked in the backyard and within a minute walked in the house with Frankie! Apparently Frankie has a favorite little divot in the yard along out back fence. It's his spot. Now I know where to find him too! Oh and I did in fact kill my kids' second pet but that is a whole different story for a different day.