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The Double Life of My Amazing Pet Tortoise

Updated on January 1, 2016

My Tortoise and Me

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Turtleboy Update - A Cautionary Tale

I lost Turtleboy this summer. It's still hard for me to think about but he accidentally got left out in high heat for several hours. There was shade - however even in the shade the temperature was in the eighties. Indoors I had the perfect enclosure for him but outdoors, since he was only out a few hours at a time, I was more lax. The guilt is hard to bear but I'm sharing this to warn others. I had been leaving him out for hours with partial shade but not really monitoring the shade temperature and his need for water at all times. Please be careful with your tortoises, they need access to not just shade but cool shade!

Turtleboy

My pet named 'Turtleboy' is actually a tortoise. Luckily, he doesn't seem to have an identity crisis over his name. Little did I know that he has been leading a double life. One as a calm reptile that occasionally steps out on the town. The second as a star performer! First, let me tell you about my mild-mannered tortoise. He is a loving pet that brightens my day. When I'm walking around his tank, he actually follows me with his eyes.Turtleboy is very quiet. He semi-hibernates in the winter (we feed him during those times). He LOVES KALE!

He's the Greatest - Turtleboy!

The natural habitat of the Russian Tortoise is desert land in the Middle East and Russia. They are usually caught in the wild. This makes sense to me because my Turtleboy is always exploring and finding ways to run off. In my bedroom (which is the only room now he can be loose because of the cat), he makes a long slow journey around its perimeter and then finds a nice warm sunny spot or heater to lounge in.

Turtleboy

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Explorer

Before we had a cat, Turtleboy would instinctively go towards the front door when free to roam. If we had the front door open with the screen door shut, he would bring himself up with his little pawson the glass and try to get out.We occasionally put him in the yard however watch out! Turn your head for 5 minutes and he disappears into the grass.One time I left for a few minutes and when I came back, I couldn't find him. I looked frantically. Finally some sixth sense made me look towards the road. And there he was crawling very fast along the grass between the sidewalk and the road.

Contribute to Your Tortoise Palace

Zoo Med Habba Hut, Giant
Zoo Med Habba Hut, Giant

Turtleboy loves his hideaway hut. With rabbit hay and lizard litter, it's a cozy habitat.

 

Make a Tortoise Habitat

This year we're redoing his container to be bigger and more tortoise friendly. Russian tortoises grow to about 10 inches (they're miniature) and live to about 50 years. We felt he deserved a more comfortable living area than the glass aquarium. I was inspired by this youtube video of this awesome container. If you are interested in getting a tortoise someday look at this great job he did.

Wonderful Habitat Instructions - His tortoises are lucky!

Now I'd Like to Present: - THE AMAZING TORTOISE!

A couple years ago, my daughters and their friend decided to create a small circus and have Turtleboy be the star performer. They created the stage and planned his amazing feats. Here is the home movie of their efforts. Enjoy!

The Amazing Tortoise Circus

Tortoise Shopping Mall

Containers:The general advice is to not use a glass tank because the clear glass confuses and frustrates them. I suppose you could just cover the bottom half with paper or cloth to help it.We're going to try a black plastic utility tub (concrete mixing container). The size is 36 x 24 x 8. You can the best deals at your local hardware store.

Turtleboy's Favorite Food

Nature Zone Bites for Tortoises,  Soft Moist Food, 24-Ounce
Nature Zone Bites for Tortoises, Soft Moist Food, 24-Ounce

We've used this for years. Turtleboy loves them.

 

TORTOISE UPDATE

I finally got his new, bigger container together. Still working on a pool, I had a deeper one he didn't like, even when I put him in it. Trying this shallow one. Also went to his overdue appointment at the vet. Beak trimmed, nails trimmed, I found out that even though his old tank was under a window, the window glass was preventing UVB rays from reaching him. Now he has UVB and basking lamp, calcium thing to chew on and I've added clovers to his diet. He is so much happier and so am I.

Having Fun Singing - Notice We Opened Our Mouths at the Same Time

The Turtleboy Song

Here are the lyrics to my Turtleboy song, copyright 2007.

Turtleboy, Turtleboy, He's the greatest Turtleboy.

He's the greatest little turtle, He's the turtle of the world-Turtleboy !

He's the greatest turtle, He is just- the greatest little turtle he's a

Turtleboy, Turtleboy, He's the greatest--- Turtleboy!!

An Uplifting Story of a Russian Tortoise

Do You Love Tortoises and Turtles? - Share Your Story

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    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @tonyleather: He is, he's really thriving too in his new tank. Right now he's semi-hibernating for the winter. :)

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      tonyleather 4 years ago

      This was a very amusing lens. Turtleboy sounds like a real character!

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @merfzel: You're quite welcome. Thanks for stopping by.

    • merfzel profile image

      merfzel 4 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      I love pretty much all animals, but I have a special appreciation for reptiles of all sorts... love this lens and the way you tell your story about Turtleboy :) Thanks for sharing!

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @Greathaul2013: That is very sweet of you to say. It's hard to believe, but some reptiles do have a little personality.

    • Greathaul2013 profile image

      Greathaul2013 4 years ago

      Wow, you've got a good heart to care about a turtle so much. I mean, I love animals, especially dogs, but to love a tortoise, you've got to have a big heart.

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @DebMartin: I'm sure Simone was a beautiful tortoise.

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Excellent!!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Well, I do try to rescue turtles crossing the road.

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      DebMartin 4 years ago

      He's cute. I once had a painted named Simone.

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @weakbond: I enjoy both types but water turtles are a little more time intensive with changing their water tank. I like having a land tortoise that only has his little pool and lamps etc in his tank. Good luck if you decide to get one or two.

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @anonymous: I'm going to have to read up on how many desert tortoises there are. It's amazing that they live so long and the way they are built is actually a plus for them.

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @BunnyFabulous: You're quite welcome. Appreciate your comments. Turtleboy is enjoying his new sun lamp now!

    • rebecca-mathews1 profile image

      rebecca-mathews1 4 years ago

      I do love turtles and tortoises but i have never seen a Russian Turtle before.Great lens.

    • weakbond profile image

      Nnadi bonaventure Chima 4 years ago from Johanesburg

      Really i don't before but the amazing life of turtle-boy has increased my interest for tortoise and turtles

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Yes, we have a desert tortoise who is 21. She was born in our yard. They live to be 50+ so she could outlive us.

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @rebecca-mathews1: Thank you for commenting. Hope you have a great summer.

    • BunnyFabulous profile image

      BunnyFabulous 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Turtleboy is adorable! I've always liked turtles and tortoises. Thanks for sharing his/your daughters' antics with us. :) Fun lens.

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @rebecca-mathews1: Thank you, I really found out about them at a pet store. I liked that they stayed fairly small.

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @peterb6001: They do, thank you for visiting.

    • writerkath profile image

      writerkath 4 years ago

      @Kim Milai: Stories of people rescuing our small helpless creatures warms my heart! :)

    • peterb6001 profile image

      Peter Badham 4 years ago from England

      Hahaha, what a fun page, I was looking forward to seeing what his double life was. Kids, they have the best imaginations :)

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @philipcaddick: Thank you so much! :)

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @kdodders: You're welcome! As you know there's lots if info on the web. russiantortoise.net/Is another source. Good luck!

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @Mary Stephenson: Thank you!

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @NuttSoRuff: You saved him! He was so small someone probably would have run him over.

    • fotolady49 lm profile image

      fotolady49 lm 4 years ago

      Congrats on LOTD! Cute lens - thanks for sharing. I never had a pet tortoise but I had a little pet turtle when I was around 10 years old. Yes I like them and they are amazing creatures!

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @MaiAki: Thank you :)

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @anonymous: That is so great you raised him from a hatchling!

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @Legenden: Thank you very much!

    • Legenden profile image

      Legenden 4 years ago

      Congratulations on lens of the day!Great lens.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I really like this lens-I've had my turtle for about 20 years. When I got him he still had his egg tooth and could fit in my hand, now we have a HUGE minnow tank for him about twice the size of a bath tube.

    • MaiAki profile image

      MaiAki 4 years ago

      Very cute post!

    • kdodders profile image

      kdodders 4 years ago

      Hope to get a Russian tortoise soon. This info will come in very handy. Thanks!

    • Mary Stephenson profile image

      Mary Stephenson 4 years ago from California

      Congratulations on LOTD.

    • NuttSoRuff profile image

      NuttSoRuff 4 years ago

      I love turtles / tortoises...although I've never had one, I do love to watch them. Once, I was coming home from work and saw something in the road (trying to cross) and I realized it was a tiny little turtle. I was so afraid it was going to get run over so I pulled over to the side of the road, ran to get it and put it back on the grass...going back to the pond where I assume it had come from. Poor thing was so scared, it hid inside its shell for quite a while!!!

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @SusanAston: Good question. In my research they apparently are territorial in the wild and stay separate from others. He seems happiest when I give him things to do like walk around eat. When he's in my room on the floor he travels over to my feet every so often.

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @fotolady49 lm: Thanks for your post, I agree!

    • SusanAston profile image

      SusanAston 4 years ago

      Does he not get lonely?

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @MrAusAdventure: Thank you so much. And thank you for sharing your story. We have to buy kale in bulk and I've tried some recipes for us since Turtleboy can't eat it all before it goes bad. Yum!

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @Tiddledeewinks LM: Thank you!

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @delia-delia: I worry about them on the road. We have snapping turtles around here that cross a certain road. I put a stick out, hoping to push him off the road and he jumped literally and bit off part of the branch! I said 'Sorry buddy, you're on your own!' and had to leavehim.Also here the box turtle is endangered here and by law you MUST leave them in the wild.

    • MrAusAdventure profile image

      Bill 4 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

      I have something in common with Turtleboy. I also love Kale! Love your little Turtleboy song. I can imagine you singing it around the house while he is out and about getting lost. Friends of mine had a similar tortoise once and misplaced it for six months! Assuming it was dead, they gave up looking for it and got another one but then it turned up in their backyard where they think it must have been the whole time! Congrats on LOTD :-)

    • Tiddledeewinks LM profile image

      Tiddledeewinks LM 4 years ago

      Nice lens. Thanks for sharing.

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @Diana Wenzel: I enjoyed reading about your neighbors desert tortoise. Thank you for writing.

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @ArtbyMAR: Russian Tortoises live I think about 75 years. A long term commitment. We have 1 dog, 1 cat, 2 ferrets, 1 tortoise and my husband is now getting chickens. It's an animal house lol.

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @philipcaddick: You're welcome.

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @TanoCalvenoa: Wow, I don't know about the Egyptian Tortoise, I will start to look into them. As you know Russian Tortoise remain pretty small, up to 9 inches depending on their habitat. Thanks for letting me know this!

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @KentuckyGal LM: Thank you. I'm enjoying writing what I enjoy. Trying to pick product placement wisely and make the feature be the story. Turtleboy is a cutie pie.

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you! KM

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @Jogalog: There's something about them, maybe their shape. Children enjoy drawing a turtle and that makes them like the animal too? Thank you for commenting.

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @Raymond Eagar: Yes! I totally agree.Thank you.

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @KnitnPurlGirl: Thank you, these are the lenses I could spend endless hours on. I need to remember to balance things. Luckily music keeps me grooving.

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @LadyDuck: Thank you!

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @SusanDeppner: Thank you Susan52, I'm excited to continue writing for Squidoo!

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @mmwoodward: Thank you so much1

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 4 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD! Nice lens,,,I use to have a Tortoise when I lived in California, it was on a busy road so picked it up...at that time it was illegal to bring them home. My son-in-law has a turtle for 20 years.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 4 years ago from Colorado

      My neighbors have a large desert tortoise. I first met him on the day I decided to move to my current high desert home here in a mountain valley. Never expected to see a tortoise at this elevation. Like your escape artist, my neighbor's tortoise has also performed a temporary disappearing act or two. Thanks for sharing Turtleboy's story. I love the affection you have for him. Congrats on LotD!

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      ArtbyMAR 4 years ago

      Very sweet story! I always wanted a turtle (but just have dogs and a cat).

    • profile image

      philipcaddick 4 years ago

      wonderful article on tortoises, very interesting. Thanks

    • profile image

      TanoCalvenoa 4 years ago

      I own an Egyptian tortoise, and my parents own California desert tortoises. I commonly see the Russian tortoises in pet stores. Tortoises are my favorite reptiles!

    • KentuckyGal LM profile image

      KentuckyGal LM 4 years ago

      What a cute little thing! Congrats on the LOTD! Both educational and entertaining. Don't "they" say something about making lenses about things you know and love? Very well done!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Very cool story. Congratulations on getting LotD!

    • Jogalog profile image

      Jogalog 4 years ago

      I do now as my little girl loves them. 'Turtle' is one of the few words she can say and so I like to play with turtle toys with her.

    • Raymond Eagar profile image

      Raymond Eagar 4 years ago

      Tortoises are slow but they beat the hare in a race , good lens

    • KnitnPurlGirl profile image

      KnitnPurlGirl 4 years ago

      What a fun lens!

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      LadyDuck 4 years ago

      Tortoises are nice quiet pets. Congratulations to be LOTD.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Back to say congratulations on your Lens of the Day award for this very fun and unique lens!

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @amosvee: He has trouble getting all the way into his shell so he could get scratched or bitten. He got good though getting under things so our dog learned to ignore him because he was unreachable. .

    • mmwoodward profile image

      mmwoodward 4 years ago

      What a cool pet! I love the setup you have for him, too. Nothing makes me happier than when pet owners go above and beyond the minimum for their pets. Great lens, and congrats!

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @Bercton1: Thank you so much!

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @raspberries: My child named him Rocky. But his other name stuck. Red eared sliders are good turtle pets :)

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @Dressage Husband: I enjoyed your story so much. They are wonderful pets. Have a great summer!

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @katiecolette: Love hearing your story. They can be little determined speeders.

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @bonusprint lm: You're welcome.

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @writerkath: Thank you so much. I really respect a tortoise rescuer. We found a tortoise on the road with a cracked shell and found a local rescuer. Thank you for sharing the story

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @GregoryMoore: Thank you for sharing your story!

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @HughSmulders LM: The key is the sit-up of the tank. He is less upkeep than a dog or cat but still need their water changed and food on a regular basis. Good luck!

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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @adragast24: Thank you!

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @Meganhere: Some tortoises might bite. Mine doesn't. Thanks for sharing your story.

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @mcsburlea: Thank you.

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @evilcruisar: Me too!

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @magicalfuture: My girls had a friend over and they surprised me with the circus. They were careful with him but I'm sure he was tired. A friend said i should have bought him a drink after lol.

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @cisshadab: That is so cool, I like the name. They really do have personalities don't they?

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @ConvenientCalendar: I agree!

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you so much.

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @squidoopets: I don't know why I like tortoises and turtles so much. :)

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @GoodGirlSEO: Thank you

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @SteveKaye: You're quite welcome fellow Virginian!

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @gusti-agung: Hope he enjoys his as much as I enjoy mine. :)

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      Wow, wow, wow! I'm so excited and honored to be LOTD. I'm traveling now but will be answering your questions and posts later today. Thank you for your compliments and kind responses. BTW our Turtleboy is happily retired now. We were very careful not to stress him and the circus was a one time special event. He gets to go outside and chomp on clover and more.

    • amosvee profile image

      amosvee 4 years ago

      He's cute! I'm curious -- what would the cat do to him?

    • Bercton1 profile image

      Bercton1 4 years ago

      l love pet in general, great to see such an original lens. Well done!

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      raspberries 4 years ago

      I love turtles and tortoises! I would want a turtle more though. Turtleboy is so cute! I'm glad he didn't put up a fuss about his name! :)

    • Dressage Husband profile image

      Stephen J Parkin 4 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

      I had a tortoise for many years as a kid, we called him Timothy, but he was kept in the garden in the UK. He would burrow and liked to live in the compost pile (not sure of the breed). He would steal all the low lying raspberries when they were in season, but he never left our yard. In the winter he would hibernate in a big box of hay that we kept in the garage. We had to be careful to make sure he was still there before taking the car out. He became a real escape artist over the years. We had a lot of fun with him! Well done on your Lotd!

    • katiecolette profile image

      katiecolette 4 years ago

      My cousin had a tortoise when we were little. I remember how we took him outside and let him crawl in the grass. Just like your Turtleboy, he was very fast for his little self :)

    • bonusprint lm profile image

      bonusprint lm 4 years ago

      Great lens... Thanks for sharing

    • writerkath profile image

      writerkath 4 years ago

      Adorable! I have a friend in California who rescues Tortoises. She recently told me that she's just a tortoise or two away from being known as a "crazy tortoise lady!" :) I love looking at photos of her little sanctuary! Congratulations on your LOTD honors! :)

    • GregoryMoore profile image

      Gregory Moore 4 years ago from Louisville, KY

      When we were little, my dad used to stop and pick up turtles that he would find on the road and bring them home for our pets. Well done lens. Congrats on your LOTD.

    • HughSmulders LM profile image

      HughSmulders LM 4 years ago

      It is rather interesting for me if turtles are hard to take care of. The case is I'm looking for a pet, but I have too little time to look after it. Is it OK with turtles?