A sure sign that Spring has arrived, even if it is unofficial, is when my desert tortoises come out of hibernation. The ground temperature has to be warm enough consistently for them to emerge. Here in Las Vegas we have Mojave Max who lives up at The Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area and the school children have a contest each year as to when exactly he will emerge. Mine usually come out a week or two after Max does because my burrow is on the North side of my house and stays cooler. Last year I shared with you How to Care for a Desert Tortoise and some really fun pictures of some of my own desert tortoises! If you missed it you really should take a minute to see the pictures, especially my skateboarding tortoise “hanging ten”!
Yesterday morning I was out photographing a beautiful dandelion that I found. I loved how the sun was hitting the top only and it made it glow above the dark grass below. I was checking on things in my garden and then I heard some rustling of leaves coming from my Tortoise Habitat. I had a pile of lemon leaves that had been left from Winter and “Killer” was in them.
A desert tortoise will spend approximately half of the year under ground in a burrow in hibernation. When they come out of hibernation after their long nap, they can have a ravenous appetite! It is important to make sure that you have a saucer of water to hydrate themselves and then grass and dandelions and other treats that are good to eat. When “Killer” woke up today he was very happy to have fresh dandelions and grass and he did dip his head into the water and drank for a while. His tongue is so cute! Don’t you think? They do use it to help them eat. It’s thick and hard and helps them pull their food in, sort of like our fingers aid in our eating. In the wild, tortoises fill up when they can because they might go for some time without finding anything to eat or drink.
One of my favorite things is to see remnants of lunch still hanging out of a tortoises mouth! They are so content and just sit there and bask in the sun after they eat. When they eat roses or strawberries, which are favorite treats, their mouth will be stained red and look like they have lipstick on. They don’t know how silly they look and I often say that they have a face that only a Mother can love. What do you think?