One fine morning a few days back, this little guy walked right into our garden!!!
We found him on the threshold of the Dog-kennel. (Why the place that Daddy keeps his gardening tools and fertilizers called a Dog-Kennel we could never understand. Such infringement of copyright, we think!)
Anyway, there was this little guy, blissfully basking in the long wished for early morning sunlight. He smelled of fish, had rather inquisitive eyes and seemed to be contemplating the world around him.
We had never seen something like him before and were tremendously fascinated!
Our animated and curious barks soon brought Daddy out into the garden from the bedroom where he was desperately trying to wake Mummy up from a state of comatose slumber, which is a daily routine on ALL WORKING DAYS!
We soon learned it is a tortoise.
A Tortoise? By now, our little friend had withdrawn into his shell and looked rather like a large rock. We pawed at him and shoved him with our noses but he stayed put.
We raced inside to inform Mummy who was still tossing and turning and trying to cut out the noise from all our activity with her pillow.
‘A Tortoise in our garden? Couldn’t you pawple find a better excuse to drag me out of bed?’ she complained.
But then she opened her eyes and saw the excited looks on all three faces crowded around her bed!!!
‘Could they be serious now’, she wondered.
But truly and honestly there he was, our little tortoise now once again risking his neck out into the world.
Instantly, in true ‘Mummy-fashion’, Mummy pulled us away, terrified that it might snap at our noses if it could gather enough courage.
Mummy Was awake!
We realised we knew nothing about tortoises. And there wasn’t enough time to google about him because Mummy and Daddy had to leave for work soon.
An animated discussion ensued to decide the further course of action. We couldn’t possibly keep him as a pet, he seemed like a free- bird…err…tortoise to have walked and survived the busy streets and for all we know, might be in the middle of THE Race!
(Those of you who are not familiar with the legend of the famous aforementioned race must click HERE!)
We couldn’t let him loose in the streets either, he was more likely to be squashed under the tyres of some unsuspecting car. He looked like a rock at most times, if you remember.
So we finally decided to drive him down to a place we thought he will be relatively safe in and be able to enjoy nature.
Mummy suggested a shoe-box as his temporary car seat and off we went looking for a home for him.
There was however, one little problem. We hadn’t reached a consensus about whether he was a preferably land or aquatic life form.
There is this little stream, a little away from home, with thick vegetation on its banks. Though it is by the busy highway, it is at an incline. Our little tortoise seemed rather the adventurous type, but we decided even he wasn’t likely to attempt acrobatics of that magnitude and risk his life!
So terra-firma by the stream-side it was to be for him.
Daddy was pretty confident he will take his pick of the green leaves or the myriad life-forms in the little stream and will not go hungry. So we found a clearing big enough for him under the bushes, hid him, said our final goodbyes and headed home.
We just hope he wasn’t really in the middle of any Race!
Pee Ess: We did google about out tortoise that night. He is supposedly a land-turtle, a reptile who lays eggs and hatches them on ground unlike an amphibian who lays eggs in water. He survives on green leaves and vegetables and is preferentially a herbivore. Proteins such as from insects and fish can cause his shell to grow weak.
So we did fine with our choice of habitat for him. That is reassuring.