Trevor is a male Eastern box turtle and Myrtle is a female red-foot tortoise. Myrtle is at least four times bigger than Trevor. Being a tortoise, she has a dense shell, while Trevor’s—though domed—is very lightweight. Trevor has a crush on Myrtle: She’s older, gorgeous, interested in what’s going on around her and interesting.
Trevor may be small, but he is determined. He seeks Myrtle as his mate. Myrtle, of course, cannot be bothered. He’s a small box turtle, for Pete’s sake! Trevor apparently believes that persistence will pay off and likes to follow her closely. When he gets too close, Myrtle usually wanders off, but if Trevor really annoys her, she turns around and flips him onto his back. And there he rocks with his flailing legs.
Now, Myrtle could just walk away, allowing Trevor to right
himself, but she doesn’t. She enjoys spinning Trevor around and around, like he
is a top!
This slows Trevor down for a while—but, as we all know, the heart wants what the heart wants. 😊
Green iguanas are tree dwelling lizards. They are very good climbers and will climb on anything to get to a high location, like book shelves, windows and heads—and by heads, I mean mine. People often ask me why I don’t have pierced ears. It’s because when climbing to the top of my head, the iguanas use my ear lobes as convenient toe holds. My lobes have been ripped open three times by long claws attached to strong leg muscles. I don’t want them to have an existing ear-hole for better ripping.
I often find my iguanas hanging out on top of window blinds, display cases or on my piano. When I want to find them, I know to look up, since the iguanas are usually nestled among the display items. Interestingly, the green iguanas can climb over breakable objects without disturbing them, but if they know you are coming to pick them up, they’ll send everything flying with a swoosh of their tails!
The most impressive climbing was done by my iguana, Algae. Being a young iguana, she had sharp, pointed claws. One day, I looked all over the house but couldn’t find Algae. Had she gotten out or slipped down a vent somehow? After searching everywhere I thought she could possibly hide, I looked up.
She was hanging upside down from the ceiling! After the surprise passed, I have to say that I was very proud of my young friend, Algae.
Have you ever seen a video of marine iguanas sneezing? They’re usually perched on rocks after their feeding swims, basking in the warm sun. Suddenly, iguana after iguana starts sneezing. A narrator explains this is how the marine iguanas rid their bodies of salt. Humans get rid of extra salt in their urine, but iguanas, all kinds, expel extra salt by sneezing it from nasal salt glands. Now you know: When you see an iguana sneezing, he doesn’t have a cold.
The sneezed salt is called “snalt.” It comes out as a spray that covers everything in its way. It dries as crystals around the iguana’s nostrils and is easily brushed off—of them. On other surfaces, however, it can be quite difficult to remove. Glass requires a glass cleaner, soapy water, and sometimes, a sharp blade to scrape it off. Snalt corrodes metals just like saltwater!
One of my favorite iguanas, Algae, would stick her nose into my ear to sneeze. (I think she was trying to clean the wax out of my ears.)
One more cool fact: It’s not only iguanas that sneeze salt—roadrunners do, too!
Lyric Power Publishing offers workbooks for teachers, parents and tutors to supplement student education. Here is a link to our fun and interesting Unit on Iguanas.
We’re starting a new category for posts at Tails, Tales,Adventures, Oh, My! today. We’re calling it Living with Reptiles.
I Live with a Menagerie of Reptiles, by Elaine A. Powers, Author
People think living with mammals or even birds is perfectly normal, but tell people you live with reptiles and they look at you strangely. I don’t understand this. Dogs bark, cats meow, and birds squawk. Fish might seem quiet but then you have the noise of the bubbler. Reptiles make the perfect, quiet pets and most sleep through the night right along with you. What could be better than that?
I do have stories to tell.
Tortoises Noises are Targeted—At Me!
I know I just said reptiles make quiet pets, but there are
always exceptions to the rule.
I have a creep of red-foot tortoises roaming around my home. (Creep is the collective noun for tortoises.) You can hear the slik, slik, slik sound of their feet moving on the tile, but red-foots are known for being noisy breathers. And I don’t think it’s just breathing—I think they are talking to each other. When I get home after along trip, when I’m travel-tired and trying to fall asleep, they gather beside my bed and whisper to one another for . . . hours. I’ve decided that means they’re happy I’m home. I am happy to be home—I miss them, too!
On a typical day, they allow me to sleep peacefully through the night—until dawn, that is, when they decide to scratch their apparently itchy shells on the metal frame of my bed. Back and forth, back and forth. This is a very effective way to encourage me to get up and prepare their breakfast salads.
The other day I was on the phone for an important business call. I hear this loud, scrunching sound behind me. Myrtle Tortoise had knocked over my paper grocery bag filled with other paper bags. She crawled inside, crunching the bags, crushing them, sliding them about, etc. Needless to say, it was quite noisy. Because I had to focus on the call, I couldn’t go and grab her until the conversation was over. As soon as I hung up the phone, Myrtle ceased her excavation of the bags.
“Just a coincidence,” I thought I heard her think as she strolled away. 😊
Elaine A. Powers is the author of Don’t Call Me Turtle, thanks to Myrtle, who asked her to write the book.
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Learn about our latest science-based children’s books and workbooks. Read here about reptiles, birds, cats in a variety of locations. Read the blog to learn how the books come to be, what inspires an author to write, and many more interesting aspects of the publishing business.
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