So I've been wanting another tortoise for awhile now. We built an outdoor pen for our leopard tortoise (which I'm now wishing we'd made bigger) and I was toying with the idea of adding another. If you know me at all, you know that once an idea forms in my head there is not much chance it won't happen. I get a bit obsessed. So when my friend Jessica suggested having a garage sale I jumped at the idea to sell off old junk to finance my new little friend. Last week I spent several hours gathering unused toys and scrubbing them clean. Then last weekend I sold nearly everything making just enough (see, it was an omen). Tortoises aren't cheap, hatchling Leopard tortoises run $170 and Sulcata's run $130. I decided on a Sulcata.
Sulcata's are an African desert tortoise and they can get big. I mean BIG. Technically they are the third largest tortoise in the world. They were a very popular pet about ten years ago right after the iguana craze. People would go out and buy these little tiny iguanas and then years later be left with these six foot animals. Well the same things go for Sulcatas. They can easily get 30 inches long and over 100 pounds. They say don't think about this species unless you are able to house a small pony (check!). An adult can keep a 50 ft X 50ft yard mowed. I know all of this is usually said to deter someone from buying a Sulcata but it just intrigues the heck out of me. I've wanted one for years and have researched them like crazy (as I do all of my animals).
On Sunday I went with my earnings to the local reptile house and bought my little Sulcata. He's one year old and came from a vet/breeder in New Mexico. He's super sociable and is not scared of anything. I named him Billy Bob (because it makes me snicker). He gets along with Cecil wonderfully. In fact when I put Billy Bob in the outdoor enclosure, Cecil popped his head out of his shell to check out the newcomer and trucked it over to say hello. They are nearly always next to each other. It's pretty cute. They eat the same kinds of foods such as clover, dandelions, mulberry leaves, petunia flowers, grass, marigold leaves and flowers and sunflower leaves. They have even taken a liking to the prickly pear pads that were brought up with Rich from New Mexico. Billy Bob will catch up with Cecil in size in no time, perhaps 2-3 years he'll be as big as Cecil.
Meet Billy Bob. Ain't he cute?
He enjoys his daily 15 minute warm water soak. You have to keep these youngsters well hydrated. He's got such a lovely smooth shell (which I'm sure comes from being raised outside in sunny New Mexico). New research is showing proper hydration and humidity, when they are little, will keep that shell smooth without the pyramiding that Cecil has.