Fast Eddie loves red bell peppers. He eats romaine lettuce and cucumbers, too. When I can find some spineless cactus, that is also a special treat. What he really wants is a girlfriend, but he may have to wait for that…..
Our African Sulcata Tortoise was estivating last week, which is what they do in winter……but we had 3 inches of rain and the ground was already saturated, so he was underwater and seemingly oblivious to it. The easiest way to move this 80 pound bombshell is to load him up in a wheel barrow.The last time his pasture was icy, I brought him into the house along with his igloo where he closed his eyes and covered his face with his front feet. This was great until Tom came home. I felt like I should tell him that Fast Eddie was in the house, so he didn’t trip over him during the night. He just shook his head and so Eddie was moved to the garage with a space heater and lots of fresh hay on the floor. Our tortoise adviser Bruce Deuley gave us good tips about keeping him healthy and warned us not to let him get too cold and especially not cold and wet. During the spring and summer, Eddie grazes on coastal Bermuda grass and we give him treats of bell peppers, romaine lettuce, field greens and cucumbers. The web-site Sulcata Station has great advice about caring for tortoises. Spinach impedes the absorption of calcium and can cause deformities of their shell, so this should never be fed. Iceberg lettuce holds no nutritional value and tomatoes are too acidic. Click here to read more about the care and feeding of the African Sulcata Tortoise.
continuing my story from yesterday, after receiving the phone call from the men who had found Eddie, my next step was to try to figure out donde estuvo mi tortuga grande? They were not sure exactly which county road they were on. We did not even have road signs until a few years ago. Before that it was, take the first turn past the tree that looks like a sombrero until you see the cactus that looks like a dinosaur, follow that road until you get shot at and you are there. After several dropped calls and turnarounds, I saw the truck with my heroes standing in a circle around Eddie. One of them made the sign of the cross when he saw me. I asked them if they could help me lift him into the bed of my truck, but they looked worried and one said “Lo siento, pero no nos queremos perder los dedos”. They were afraid that Eddie would bite them. Not unless you are wearing chanclas and toenail polish I thought, but I assured them by saying “No preocuparse, mi tortuga nunca muerde nadie” If we had been closer to home, i would have transported Eddie in my wheelbarrow, but we were about five miles from home, so I said a prayer as they gingerly lifted him into the truck without dropping him like a hot tamale. Once Eddie was safely back in his pen, he seemed happy to be there. He attacked his favorite treats of bell peppers and Romaine lettuce. His four day adventure had taken him through coastal bermuda fields, which he loves, but like they say, there’s no place like home!
It was last Spring. Our 80 pound African Sulcata Tortoise had found a weak place in his pen and had escaped. Being the start of the mating season, our guess is that he was in search for another large tortoise. The closest ones I knew about were at Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard which was no safe trek for our little big man. We had been in and out checking all the troughs and feeding the critters and when Tom went to feed Eddie, he was gone. Like a prisoner chiseling his way out with the tools baked in a birthday cake, he had managed to hide his escape route in a corner of his lush estate, until he was free. My darling husband, immediately posted large signs saying “LOST: LARGE TORTOISE” followed by the internationally known palabra, “REWARD”. During the next few days, I cringed when Eddie’s fans asked about him. I went to the post office, the Feed Store,the Wilson County News, everybody in our community knows “Fast Eddie” “How can you not find an 80 pound tortoise” they laughed. Well it’s easy when you have been blessed with fields of long lush coastal ready for the huge tractors to come through and….I’m sure they would just put on the brakes and avoid a collision with our delicate little bombshell. Tom and I had walked and ridden the horses for miles through the pastures on the day that Eddie was missing.
Thoughts of all the dangers he would encounter haunted me for the next fours days, I had almost given up. ENTONCES!!! I mean ,THEN on my way home from Peyton’s school, sitting in the parking lot of the EZ Stop, I received a life changing call on my cell phone. It went like this. from what I remember. ” Bueno, pues, el siglo dijo que usted esta buscando por una tortuga giganta, verdad??? Entonces, yo dije que “Si, Esta LA VERDAD. Usted tiene mi tortuga grande? I asked.Si, MUY grande, pero usted tiene REWARD? I felt pretty confidant at this point that he had indeed found Fast Eddie. If I had a million, he would have won the Loteria, NO IMPORTA NADA!!! Just to have my little cascarone back would justify mucho dinero y mas, but alas I had $100.00 that would be distributed to the five hombres that it took to return Eddie to his Mamacita…..Manana mis amigas……I will attempt to enable you to feel my bliss that I experienced at that moment, knowing that once again our familia would be reunited with our adorable Houdini.
Eddie became a member of our family 2 years ago. He already weighed about 80 lbs, but we have never really authenticated that. He is about 20 years old. He is an African Sulcata (spurred thigh) Tortoise. They don’t live in the water, like a turtle, bur I just checked on him a few minutes ago and he was slurping up water like I have never seen before. The Sulcatas can go quite a long time without food or water, but he is spoiled rotten, like every other living creature at the Rockin’ P. His favorite treats are RED bell peppers, he apparently can tell the difference between green and red. He also loves spinless cactus, cucumbers, and Romaine lettuce. If you come to visit wearing red toe nail polish, he will chase you around (hopefully you can out run him…) maybe he thinks you have little red bell peppers on your toes, who knows? I will share more photos of him later….