Tortoise portrait 20160805


This is Spud. Spud is a captive bred red-footed tortoise. I got him when he was the size of a chicken egg. He’s now about 15 inches long and about 13 pounds. He is also a jerk. If I’m doing anything in the yard he likes to come and see, usually by walking up behind me and tripping me.

The cats have also learned to be wary of him. He’ll walk up to them and try to take a bite. They say tortoises are vegetarian and while I’m sure that’s the majority of their diet, what they really are is opportunists. I know for a fact that they’ll eat carrion, not to mention cat tails and unguarded toes. Spud is big enough and strong enough to wedge open the sliding glass door to the kitchen to get to one of his favorite foods, cat food. If any of the doors are left open he will sneak in a make a bee-line for the cat food.

Having a tortoise is a little like having a very small tank around. He wanders the patio searching for anything edible and he mows down anything that gets in his way. It often seems like he takes the hard way around. He’ll turn on his side to scrape through spaces I would have thought were much too small for him. I guess when live on stuff that you find on the ground it’s to your benefit to look everywhere. While this behavior is a plus in terms of tortoise survival, in terms of my yard it means knocked over tools and pots and plants that have mowed over in the endless search for food.

2 thoughts on “Tortoise portrait 20160805

  1. I just had to leave a comment. I love that you have a tortoise! I have loved turtles/tortoises since childhood, but seldom see anyone that keeps one as a pet.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Beth. There was a tortoise that came to our yard once in a while when I was a kid. I remember it walking across the lawn, eating dandelion flowers as it went. I really enjoy sharing my yard with Spud.

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