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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Taco, Our Desert Tortoise Emerges

Sunday, March 6th, Taco our oldest desert tortoise woke up and made his first appearance in 2011. Our local weather has been so crazy (freezing, rainy, mild, cold, hot, mild, cool-ish), we were beginning to wonder how it might affect our tortoises’ natural hibernation cycles. Particularly our most experienced burrower, Taco. After about a week of mild weather, Taco emerged…albeit slowly.

When I first spotted him, he was nestled in a sunny corner. He woke up to a tortoise yard full of mustard (thanks to our most recent two storms, boo-hiss mustard!), but also a bountiful, green and blooming apricot mallow plant—one of Taco’s favorite desert treats! The bottom layer of mallow branches were already stripped clean of their fresh, crinkly leaves thanks to his post-hibernation appetite and sharp beak. I cleaned and filled his water dish, then let him be to rest in the last of the day’s sun.

Taco polishes off the leaves
and flowers from an apricot
mallow plant stem.
Taco is slowly waking back into his daily tortoise routine. We will continue providing cactus pads and fruit, wildflowers and other desert plants from around our yard to feed his appetite.

Our other two tortoises, Guacamole and Rufus, are beginning to stir in their pet carrier where these siblings sleep out their hibernation. I expect they will be “waking up” any time now. They usually run two weeks behind Taco. They will get a warm water bath in the next couple of days if their activity stays consistent and will soon be back in their own yard.

Spring continues to yawn, stretch, and blink awake on the desert floor.

Nap time.

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