Nearly Wordless Wednesday: Happy Tortoise Day!

I thought it was time that I share with the world the reason that Wednesdays are nearly wordless.  This is for Gilly, who never fails to wish me a Happy Tortoise Day. Here’s insight into the secret life I lead. On Wednesdays, I volunteer in the reptile department of my zoo. I soak feces from endangered species. Truly, I am living the dream. Here are some of my favorites.


Cape speckled tortoise, also known as a Padloper. The smallest tortoise species. It is also one of the prettiest.


Pyxis arachnoides. A sub-species of spider tortoise from Madagascar. And it’s dinner time. I don’t feed. I deal with the aftermath. Professor of Poop, that’s me.


Manouria impressa. The prettiest baby I have ever seen. This one is about the size of an oreo cookie. But don’t eat it. It’s sharp!


My boss holding one of the baby Aldabras. That was 4 years ago. The tortoise is now five times this size.


Eventually that baby tortoise will grow into one of these. Hey, Tex, you’ve got something on your face. It’s hardly noticeable.


Chow time! Don’t feel sorry for the little guy. He may be outweighed by several hundred pounds, but he gives as good as he gets.

Happy Tortoise Day! May all your poop-soaking dreams come true in the new year.

44 thoughts on “Nearly Wordless Wednesday: Happy Tortoise Day!

  1. I loooooove the pics!! From the big guys to the spike-y Oreo cookie sized. I could eat them up! But I won’t!! No, I won’t. HAPPY TORTOISE DAY!! 🙂 I am so jealous of your poop soaking Wednesdays!

  2. That is absolutley awesome! I dig turtles and tortoises (even though I never know how to pronounce them properly). I used to be a turtle ranger in Cape Verde which was endless stress but sooooo cool! And only yesterday I went to the local zoo with the little monster and our giant tortoises put on a mighty mating scene, specifically for me. I swear!
    My favourite pic is of the spider tortoises feeding. No pushing, no misbehaving, just peaceful, geometric feeding. Too cute!

    • Our aldabras do a little mate-y dance all the time. But they are males. This past summer, we had females that were on loan from another zoo. It was the best summer of poor Tex’s life. His role of hapless victim was put away for a few months.

  3. I like turtles for some reason. I think they are incredibly ugly and prehistoric looking. We have those huge snappers that look like they are a thousand years old around our place because of the river. My dad used to get us baby turtles to raise when we were younguns. That was fun.

  4. I didn’t realize you actually worked in a zoo. That’s awesome. I have a funny zoo story about poo.

    A zoologist I know was inspecting elephant feces and in the distance he heard a mother saying to her son, “See. That’s where you’ll be if you don’t pick up your grades, cleaning up crap in a zoo.”

    • What’s really funny is that if he doesn’t pick up his grades, he’ll never get to pick up elephant poo. Elephant keeping is the pinnacle. Most people never make it that far up the ladder.

      • That is a cool fact that I will definitely be passing on to my students. I teach Grade 3 and any conversation about poo is always a big hit.

  5. @Edudad – I taught a class at the zoo called “The Scoop on Poop.” Giraffe poop comes in pellets about the size of a thumb. Or smaller. The first nugget of a grizzly bear after hibernation is about the size of a man’s arm. You’re welcome.

  6. Thanks for making it so much fun to come here. I never know what to expect, and I really enjoy that. This just isn’t the same old sh*t at all, and you are becomingcliche in name only!

  7. OK, my son really wants a Russian Tortoise. Is this a good idea or should I say no? If I do get one, what would be the requirements to take proper care of said tortoise…size habitat, and accessories?

    • Check your state laws. It’s not always legal to have them. They will also outlive you if you care for them properly, so make sure your family wants it THAT bad.

      You’ll want ultra-violet light and a heat lamp, and I’d get a big tub that landscapers sink into the ground and use as ponds. Fill it with sandy soil. They don’t eat fruit at all, nor do they eat crickets. Strictly veggies and grasses. If you can keep them outdoors, so much the better.

      They are very, very personable. Our red-foot tortoise was like a dog with a shell. My daughter used to paint her feet with tempera paint and let her walk across paper. She saved the “paintings.”

    • They are desert tortoises, and they only get water once a week in captivity (it’ s still more water than they would see in a year in the wild). So we soak them to let them get a drink, and then it all slides out.

  8. Love the pictures! But I like better that I am your 667 follower and not the preceding number 🙂

  9. Pingback: Two-Kinds-of-People-Tuesday er Thursday « life on tuesday

    • They tend to grow fast, no matter what. They need lots of grasses and very little fruit. I love tortoises so much. Many of them become surprisingly responsive to the humans that care for them.

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