The soil covering your tortoise burrow works hard to divert rain and also to hold some water and then allow it to evaporate. Continued or heavy rains can overwhelm the soil's water-holding capacity causing soggy soil and possible flooding. When you see rain coming, you can cover the burrow with a tarp or heavy plastic sheet being sure that the water will drain away from the burrow as it runs off the tarp. Since high winds often accompany rain, have some 2x4s or rocks handy to weight down the … [Read more...] about Help Your Tortoise Burrow Manage Rain
Warm weather has encouraged some tortoises to peek out or bask and then return to the burrow. This is normal behavior. It's still early in the year with cool nights and a low average temperature. It's not time to feed your tortoise yet. Wait until it has been out every day for a week or two, has been browsing, and seems active. I know, I'm eager, too. I expect Tad to come out about the same time every year---mid March. Some emerge as late as late April. … [Read more...] about Warm Weather During Brumation
Many people are worried that their tortoise hasn't come out yet, or it has come out once or twice and now it has been gone for a week or two. The weather has changed from hot to cool often in the last weeks, and the tortoises seem to be waiting for a nice warm streak. Today, April 11, it's cool again in Las Vegas and will remain so for several days. If your tortoise is already a month later than normal for it, I might worry. Check your burrow for a collapse or obstruction by reflecting sunlight … [Read more...] about Tortoise Not Out Yet?
Until tortoises are about 8" long, they all look like girls. Then the males begin to differentiate. A concave area at the rear of the plastron (lower shell) begins to form. Later, a gular horn and chin glands develop. Males have longer tails. Females have long rear nails for digging the nest. Please refer to Determining The Sex and Age to learn more. … [Read more...] about Is it a boy or a girl?
Already some tortoises are staying in their burrows for a day or two. Often, in the hottest part of the summer, tortoises will stay in for days or even weeks at a time. Not to worry. If they have had plenty to eat and drink during the spring, they will be fine. This period of inactivity and lowered metabolic rate is called estivation--and it's normal. When cooler weather returns, they will be out browsing and looking for you again! … [Read more...] about Estivation