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Tortellini: Desert Tortoise

Photo of Tortellini
  • This is our oldest and largest desert tortoise, Tortellini, taking his first long drink of the summer.
  • He's about 50 years old. His shell is as big as a large dinner plate. He was raised from a baby as a pet and given to us by a friend when she moved away from the desert.
  • Tortellini has a large pen with two burrows in our front yard. One we call his "winter" burrow where he hibernates; the other is his "summer" burrow where he often escapes from the summer sun.
  • In the summer, he comes out of his burrow in the cool of the morning or at dusk or when it rains!
  • Our previous dog Marika was a hunter. Tortellini used to roam free in our backyard. When we adopted Markia, we had to move our tortoises to the front yard.
  • Tortellini does not get along well with our other tortoises. We have one eighteen-year-old tortoise Lucy, who is Tortellini's offspring. She is in a separate enclosure. At various times, we have provided foster care hatchlings, baby tortoises. When we have little ones, they live in a large pen covered with chicken wire to keep them safe from owls and other predators.
  • Our tortoises provided the inspiration and information to write my two-voice poem called "Desert Lowriders."

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