- 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
- 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."
Sing Down the Rain