Tommy Tortoise

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

When I was little, and my hankering for a kitten was at it's highest, I remember thinking that a tortoise would make a most unexciting pet. You couldn't hug it or let it sleep on your bed. It certainly wouldn't chase balls of wool.

Fast forward 30 odd years and having hung out with Tommy on occasion I have to admit that I was wrong.

I love this little dude.


He belonged to Andy's Grandma, and since she passed away Tommy has been living with Andy's parents. I get to pet-sit when they go away for the weekend, and I always look forward to his visits.

Most recently he spent a few days chomping on our wet-the-bed weeds - what are they called? As a kid I believed that if you picked one, you'd wet the bed that night. I was too scared to test the theory. I have no idea where that came from, but if my Mum had been savvy she'd have told me the same about picking strawberries from the garden and she'd have had a lot more for making jam.

Anyway - dandelions! - it just popped into my head - Tommy is partial to a dandelion or two. And we have plenty in our lawn that we're more than happy for him to chomp on.

We pop him out in his run in the morning when it's warmed up a little and leave him there until it turns cooler in the evenings. At night he has a box to sleep in with some newspaper bedding. We pop him in the pantry as our cats are partial to jumping into boxes, and we want to avoid any tortoise / cat related mishaps.


The cats are a little bemused by him. They get to within a few feet and the next move Tommy makes has them beating a quick retreat. It's so funny to watch.

I like to let him out of his run when he's here and we go for a walk. I discovered if I wear something bright he happily follows me around the garden. But I have to keep an eye on him, he's not slow by any means, he can really move!

We have no idea how old Tommy is. He's been around for as long as Andy's Mum can remember.

Many years ago Andy's Grandad drilled a hole in his shell, and attached a ring so that they could tie a piece of string to a pitch fork stuck into the ground, and leave him to wander in the garden without losing him.

Although they did lose him once, he went on an epic journey. He was gone for days before being discovered several gardens away. He was found by a neighbour who'd grown rather fond of him, she didn't really want to give him back.


He's sweet, his slow(ish) movements seem deliberate if a little doddery. When I go to his run he often greets me by walking over and trying to climb up the side. He'll always tip over his water bowl, and try to climb over your legs when you sit with him, always choosing the most challenging route to get anywhere.

Yes, I think a tortoise makes a most lovely pet.

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22 comments

  1. OK this is precious. Turtles are so amazing <3
    XO Ellen from Ask Away
    www.askawayblog.com

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    1. Thanks Ellen, Tommy is such a cutie!

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  2. He sounds lovely! And I'd forgotten all about that wet the bed plant rumour, always wonder where these things come from!

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    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one who heard that, I'd sound pretty silly if it was just me!

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  3. Tommy looks just like Jacob and his mannerisms are identical - following you if you're wearing something bright and clambering over everything in his path if he can. I wonder if there is a way of aging a tortoise? A fellow owner once told me that they don't reach sexual maturity until they're in their 60s! xxx

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    1. Imagine having to wait that long!!
      Tommy was already fully grown when they got him so he could easily be 60... the mind boggles!

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  4. He looks and sounds an absolute darling!! What a cutie!! Hope you enjoy his company for many years to come!! I quite like non-cuddling animals like this!!
    I knew you meant Daneelions when.you said that but totally forgot that rumour!!!!

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    1. He's a real cutie. I hope he's around for many years to come. My nieces and nephew think he's awesome.

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  5. Wouldn't it be great if they could meet?

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  6. He's so sweet! I like that you're considerate & think about how he gets on with the cat. :) It was turtle season when I last went home to Missouri, so I saw loads crossing roads, but sadly we don't get many tortoises there.

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    1. That is so cool, I can't imagine seeing turtles roaming around freely.

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  7. I have always wanted one. I remeber my neighbours in England having 2 and I loved them. It is illegal to have them in Brisbane Australia (insert sad face)

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    1. That's a shame, why is it illegal?

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  8. Tommy is very cute! We once looked after my aunts tortoise while she was on holiday. We kept him in our old rabbit run but everyday he escaped and we had a panic trying to find him. We even weighted the sides down with bricks but he still got out. One day he burrowed under the fence and it took us ages to find him. Cute as he was I was very relieved to give him back.

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    1. oh my goodness, I don't know what I'd do if Tommy went wandering about! It reminds me of the time I looked after my Mums fish when she went away and most of them died!

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  9. Awww, Tommy is a cutie <3 My friend at uni had a tortoise called Bertie who I'd always fawn over whenever I got the chance to pop round their house. There's just something adorable about them ins't there? Lovely photos! - Tasha

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  10. Thank you for the lovely comments on my last post! - Tasha

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  11. Aww I love Tommy! My auntie has a tortoise called Speedy, he likes biting toes and pooing on the carpet (when he comes indoors, he does usually live in the garden!), Tommy sounds like he has a sweeter temperament than Speedy! He looks like a lovely chap!

    My mum told me that dandelions make you wee too, but only if you eat them, I think they're a diuretic but you'd have to eat a lot before you wee'd the bed! :)

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    1. Tommy might seem sweeter than Speedy, but your Mum is clearly kinder than mine! ;)

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  12. I know this is a very late arrival to the party, but the French word for dandelion is "pissenlit" - literally pee in the bed. So you're not imagining things!! I like the literalness of certain French words - rosehips are "gratte cul" (scratch your arse hole!) as the little hairs on them can indeed cause an itchy bottom if you eat them!

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    1. This is without doubt the best comment on a post. Ever!!

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