Project Awesome

Making my life more awesome

Future planning and serendipity

on July 30, 2012

Another thing that happened on Friday – I received a text from my mum, who was looking after Big Girl and Small Girl.  It said “Keeping down the dandelions in your yard” followed by this picture:

Not only was my mum hanging my washing out, there was a tortoise in my yard!  She said it had just wandered in and Big Girl was in two minds about it.  I was quite excited.  Maybe it would stay and no-one would ever reclaim it.  I’ve always wanted a tortoise.

Sadly, by the time I got home it had wandered off again.  The next day I saw my neighbour.  He said the tortoise was his and apologised for its incursion. I said I’d quite hoped to keep it and he said he had a baby one which I could have if I wanted.  I said I’d think about it.

And I have been.  I *really* want a tortoise. It would be amazing.  I’m torn between believing this is serendipity (and you can justify anything if it’s serendipity) and knowing that you have to think carefully before taking on an animal which is likely to outlast you.

The thing is, this is a Leopard Tortoise (not a leopard.  That would be ridiculous).  It’s the 4th largest species of tortoise.  I live in a terraced house with a yard.  There’s nowhere for it to graze.  Part of my plan to improve my life is wanting to do things and having a go.  But I’m not willing to take on a pet with significant care needs (and a risk of salmonella) just to make my life better.

So… I’d need to think about where to keep it indoors.  And where it would live outdoors.  Apparently tortoises really do need grass to graze on.  I have none.  I’d have to think about the costs of adequate heating.  Vet’s bills.  And who will look after it when I die.  And how to look after a reptile, of which I have no experience.

I get very enthusiastic about things.  You could probably say ‘obsessive’ and not be inaccurate, as anyone following my facebook posts about West Wing would agree.  So I’ve been looking at books on tortoises, reading stuff on the internet, posting on a forum, asking for advice, looking on gumtree for people selling or giving away tortoises, trying to convince myself that this is a good idea.  But really, in the rational part of my brain, I know I can’t take on the fourth largest breed of tortoise.  I can’t take on any sort of tortoise at the moment.  Ex-Husband and I have yet to agree on the future of the house I live in.  So my plan is to get that sorted, so I know where I’ll be living, and then start planning – make my yard secure, get some grass, work out where the tortoise could live, and get one in the future.

Yes, I have a future-tortoise-plan.  This was another thing I wouldn’t have anticipated a year ago.



9 responses to “Future planning and serendipity

  1. Danielle says:

    I have a turtle plan, to be executed when we move to a house big enough to keep a 4-6 foot tank and enough sunshine to let them loose outside sometimes to harden their shells. My friend keeps turtles and I LOVE them 🙂 They are much smaller and easier than tortoises and if you get the right ones have just as much personality 🙂

    • I’m actually quite scared of committing to getting a tortoise because everything I read emphasises how hard they are to look after, how specific their needs are, how every species needs different care. I suspect this is partly to counter the idea spread by Blue Peter (and zpembers below) that tortoise care solely consists of putting them in a box and taking them out again. I’m thinking about finding some sort of tortoise society and going along to actually talk to people about having a tortoise, and hopefully getting the whole thing demystified. I think it’s been made to sound so complicated that I can’t help but feel inadequate.

      Also, I wonder whether I’d be wise to wait a little while before taking on something new and mildly complicated. I am just emerging from the throes of a devastating relationship breakdown and looking after two small children and attempting to negotiate a divorce. It’s not like I have nothing on my plate…

      A few people have suggested turtles. What do you like about them? I really like the idea of a tortoise plodding around.

      • Danielle says:

        I agree it might be something that needs to wait. My turtle and puppy plans are currently on hold for a number of reasons lol. I fell in love with my boyfriend’s friend’s turtle Shelly. She has a huge, ecstatic grin built into her face and loves people (or food). Swims right up and smiles at me whenever I appear 🙂 I guess not all turtles look as cool or are as personable, but I am hoping when I have a couple I can teach them to at least adore me as much (food love being the key).

        • I went to Manchester Museum on Tuesday. There’s a vivarium with iguanas and monitor lizards. Small Girl loved it! It’s really hard to weigh up all the different factors in making a decision, isn’t it?

      • Danielle says:

        agreed! when it comes to pets I want to be responsible and commit for the extent of their life. makes the decision SO important…

  2. zpembers says:

    Tortoises don’t require that much work. Just take them in and out of a box twice a year. That’s how blue peter do it anyway.

    • I think there may be some behind-the-scenes care going on. Apparently you should hibernate them in the fridge. I knew there was a reason I had a second veg drawer. Do Blue Peter still have tortoises?

  3. Myn says:

    They may need grass, but clearly your yard already has something tortoises want?

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