Last night when I went to put the turtles away, I saw that Popcorn the 125 lb Sulcata had not eaten his breakfast, which is very odd. I looked in his house and saw that he was almost invisible and was below the level of the dirt.
The house is 12 feet long, so I could not get in there without suiting up. I was scared that he was digging a tunnel underground or that he was dead or upside down. I prayed to St. Francis and St. Anthony that things would be OK.
This morning I put on long sleeves and gloves, tied my pants legs closed at the ankle, put on a shower cap and grabbed my wide snow shovel. He was alive, and so I gave him a banana to keep him busy far away in his enclosure. They are not allowed to eat fruit so this was a big deal. I crawled and tried to refill the depression but realized the dirt was as hard as a rock, so I think the 6 months of heavy rain turned that area to mud and now it has hardened. Thank goodness as digging "burrows" is a no no for tortoises. They can collapse on them or they can actually dig so far that they go under a neighbor's house or worse. All's well but this was a good reminder of what it takes, caring for a tortoise! Be prepared to sacrifice yourself for your turtle or tortoise if there is a problem.
- Susan, American Tortoise Rescue, 2023
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