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    Posted July 19, 2014 by
    Yucca Valley, California
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    California Tortoise Construction in Action...


    Arnold our Tortoise son since 1972, had a scary close encounter this week. Arnold has his own yard where he spends his days during the summer months. He has his swimming pool, shade of 2 old Pine Trees, a little wooden hut and some recently planted grass.
    Tuesday morning my husband was checking on Arnold, as we do many times each day. He was horrified to find Arnold upside down...one of the worst situations he could be in. In the wild if a Tortoise can not turn himself back over they will die in a short period of time. My husband quickly turned him over only to find that he was disoriented & foaming at the mouth. He picked Arnold up & brought him inside so that we could take a closer look at him. We didn't find any physical damage other than his leg seemed a bit stiff & unable to move correctly. We put about 2" of warm water in the bath tub & put him in to begin to rehydrate him quickly. After soaking for about 15 minutes (keeping the water warm for him), he still didn't seem himself.
    We called our vet who is only about 5 minutes away & she agreed to wait for us, as it was about lunch time. It was really a Very Scary time for us waiting to see if any damage had been done...not knowing just how long he had been in that position.
    Long story short, Arnold was given a tentative OK! She wanted us to again soak him in the tub when he got home & then put him back to bed (in his closet) for the night. She also wanted us to keep him inside the next day. That was no problem, as Arnold did NOT get up as usual the next morning. He usually gets up as soon as he feels the HEAT on the wall of his closet which is the outside wall of the home on the East side. We then take him outside to his fenced in yard.
    We are quite sure that Arnold was tipped over by a young Coyote that has been seen around for the past few weeks.  We are near a lot of open land and have many Coyotes, Bob Cat & other wild animals.  Many nights we hear very loud howling from the packs of coyotes. My husband saw him drinking water out of Arnold's water bowl on several mornings this summer. Of course we don't mind that he shares the water, we keep water out behind the garages for everyone!   We don't think that he was trying to hurt Arnold, but rather probably just curious when he came for a drink & Arnold was out & about. The whole encounter probably scared him as much as it did Arnold.
    All is well that ends well... Arnold finally got out of bed & came walking into the hall about 3pm. Arnold has now been moved!! My husband spent the next morning while Arnold was sleeping in & recovering, building a new compound inside of our back yard where the block wall is high & the coyotes do not visit. We feel much better & think Arnold also seems to like his "new digs".  I'm sure he would have said Thanks Dad for the 2 days of Very Hard work making the area safe & building the fencing for his new home!  Serious hard work in 100 degrees.  Big Hug.  When we took Arnold out & put him in his new home, he ate a big plate of watermelon & a few strawberries...seems to be OK. Thank goodness!!
    We spent time watching him adjust yesterday afternoon & today. He's been walking around, 'sniffing' the ground & generally getting to know his new home. He has a small 'hut' my husband made him out of wood. He never really used it at his old place, because he had so much shade from the old Pine trees. His new place doesn't have as much shade, although we did plant a new Palo Verde tree (well bush now) which will grow into a beauty with lots of shade & beautiful small yellow flowers.
    I took video of Arnold 'adjusting' the floor/ground inside the little hut. He had been napping in it off & on during the morning but decided to make a few changes.
    In the 'wild' the Tortoise will make a burrow underground to get out of the HEAT of the day & sleep in at night. Since Arnold does not sleep out at night & has always had enough shade, he has never dug a home underground.
    It was fun to watch him work today....
    I hope you enjoy the little Tank at work.
    I don't think he is done because he is sort of at an angle...I think he'll finish it tomorrow.
    Too cute & such a hard worker! Note the flat dirt in the beginning & how big the pile is once he stops moving dirt. His little (well stocky) legs & arms really MOVE that dirt...sometimes he just flings it back if you watch in some of the videos!

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