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You Know It’s Hot Out There When . . . You Get Rushed By a Tortoise! by Elaine A. Powers

photo of a tortoise native to Sonoran Desert

You might not think tortoises are very smart, but I have one who proved she is. I have a young native tortoise as a foster. Her name is Flipper. Last summer she was big enough to roam outside and it was relatively cool for Tucson. When it came time for her to brumate as winter approached, she was not making good den choices. (She thought a bucket on its side would be sufficient protection from the winter cold.) I brought her inside until spring. Several weeks ago, once the nighttime temperatures came up, I put Flipper back out into the yard.

It has not been cool this year. May 6th it was 105 degrees. (It was 111 at my house today.) Though I love hot weather, in the early afternoon, even I thought it was a bit much.

I supplement the tortoises’ grazing with the vegetables and fruits I feed the indoor tortoises. Flipper would come over every now and then but seemed to be doing well outside.  Recently, as I put out the plate of greens, Flipper came running over. She must be really hungry! Nope, she ran right over the plate, up to the door sill, and tried to climb inside. It was too high for her short legs, so I helped her up and over. I soaked her in the bathtub in case she had been dehydrated in the hot, dry weather (nine percent humidity).

After her bath, I gave her a plate of greens, which she “wolfed” down. Apparently, she needs to work on her transition to wild tortoise a bit more. I planned to have her go back outside when it cooled down to the mid-90s, but she beat me to it. A few days later, she somehow knew the temps were back in the 90s, and she rushed out the door.

To learn more about tortoises, take a look at Don’t Call Me Turtle! and the Tortoise workbooks/activity sheets here at Lyric Power Publishing LLC.

A children's book cover, green with a tortoise standing, coming out of a circle, finger pointed, saying Don't Call Me Turtle
Voted 5-Stars by the Preschool Crowd, Who Now Know the Differences Between Turtles and Tortoises. Colorfully Illustrated by Nicholas Thorpe.  Written in Rhyme. 20 Pages.  There are many differences between tortoises and turtles, and the wise tortoise who narrates this book tells us about ten of those differences–in rhyme. She also says, “Don’t Call Me Turtle!” (Even if my name should be Myrtle.)
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Cantata Sulcata! Video with Curtis Curly-tail Lizard

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, and a special Hello to all my Fans!

It’s ME! Curtis Curly-tail Lizard–the only lizard with his own Blog and YouTube Channel!

Does that make me special? It sure does!

I just LOVE my work! I have the best job in the whole world!

Today, I’d like to introduce you to a friend of mine, Cantata Sulcata! Please click on the image below to learn all about Cantata and other Sulcata Tortoises.

Have a great day!

image of a curly-tail lizard pointing to a cell phone showing  a picture of a Sulcata tortoise
Click on our picture and come and learn all about Sulcata Tortoises.
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A Desert Star is Born, on My You Tube Channel! By Curtis Curly-tail Lizard

My sidekick, Elaine A. Powers, introduced me to Zoe, a Sonoran Desert tortoise, who lives with Elaine. Zoe is a female who knows her territory and stands her ground. You can see her here, chasing Duke out of her yard!

Small tortoise chases large tortoise away
Zoe chases the interloper, Duke!

Stop on over today at my You Tube channel and check Zoe out!

And, if you’re looking for some fun activities for the kids and the kids-at-heart, check out our workbooks.

image of six workbooks
Fun, educational and relaxing!

 

 

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Happy New Year! Happy New Decade! By Elaine A. Powers, Author

infographic of Elaine Powers with large hybrid iguanaWith the start of the New Year, we tend to establish goals for our productivity, and things we’d like to change or improve.  According to the Gregorian calendar, January 1, 2020 starts a new decade. My goals for the new year and new decade are to dedicate my efforts to both furthering science education (in a fun and entertaining way, of course!), as well as increasing awareness of conservation. I enjoy sharing science with others, whether it be through my books or taking my reptiles into schools and other places.

If you live in a cold climate, may I suggest while inside, where it’s warm and comfy, reading a few of our books or completing the activities and coloring pages in the workbooks? Check them out here and at elaineapowers.com. If you’re in a warmer climate, I encourage you to take a walk outside and then finish the day with reading one of our colorful and rhyming books to a young one, or whipping out the crayons and markers to color and complete one of our interesting workbooks.

One of our goals in 2020 is to add the national education standard codes to the wonderful workbooks created for Lyric Power Publishing by Marilyn Buehrer. Our workbooks are comprehensive, interesting and fun, but they aren’t labeled with the standards, which home-schooling parents and teachers need to know.

If there are other ways that Lyric Power Publishing, LLC, can assist you in meeting your educational needs, please contact me at iginspired@gmail.com.

I can tell already that 2020 is going to be an exciting year.  There will be more books, more talks, more videos, and many more posts at the blog. Please follow along as life unfolds with my multitude of reptiles, one horse, and an occasional visiting dog, on this merry journey of mine.

May 2020 be a happy, healthy, fun, and educational year for you and yours!

 

 

infographic about "Don't" series books

a light green and dark green book cover with the image of a duck in water

a yellow and green book cover with an image of a desert tortoise

a yellow and green book cover with an image of a fruit bat and a common rat

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Ahhh, the Mysteries! Such as, How Many Tortoises Can You Stack in a Corner? By Elaine A. Powers, Author

several tortoises fighting for space in a corner of a roomThere are many mysteries in life, questions that we need to know the answers to.

Like this one: How many tortoises can fit in a corner?

And the follow-up question: how many tortoises can you stack on top of each other before they topple?

I don’t know the answer to these inquiries, but these girls are well on their way to solving these mysteries.

 

 

 

 

 

Rain forest tortoise eating nectarineMeanwhile the smaller, smarter one, is off enjoying a bit of nectarine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you know the differences between turtles and tortoises? And did you know the typical answer: “Turtles live in the water, and tortoises live on land,” is not that simple? If you want to find the answers to the question, How are turtles and tortoises different, you will certainly enjoy, Don’t Call Me Turtle! (That’s one mystery that’s easy to solve.)

It’s a fun, rhyming book and a favorite among the little ones–I get the most fan mail with their pictures about this book, along with notes from their parents telling me that they learned a lot, too, while reading Don’t Call Me Turtle!

A children's book cover, green with a tortoise standing, coming out of a circle, finger pointed, saying Don't Call Me Turtle

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Who Likes a Bath? By Elaine A. Powers, Author

Water is important to all reptiles. Some need a lot of water, like the tropical rain forest green iguanas and some less, like the desert dwelling Sulcata tortoises.

My iguanas get regular soakings, which they enjoy. Some like the shower, spraying them as if rain is falling, while others prefer the gently rising warm water of the tub. The red-foot tortoises also enjoy soaking this way. Ezra, an old green iguana, requires his daily soaks to maintain his internal health.

A rock iguana soaking in a tubHere is Blue, a Cayman Blue-hybrid iguana, enjoying his soak.

But some reptiles don’t like to soak. One big one is Duke, my male Sulcata tortoise. Even though it is important for him to soak occasionally, he hates it. I mean, he really hates it. People tell me how tortoises love to soak and maybe they even float. Not Duke. He sinks like a rock.

I used to soak him in the bathtub until he reached 120 lbs. Then I kind of crushed my finger between him and the side of the tub. Since then, I fill the kiddie pool with warm water for him. I tried rinsing him with the hose as the water level rose. He didn’t like that, thrashing about, trying to climb over the edge.

I tried putting him into an already filled pool. Still he thrashed. I hoped he would calm down and just soak, but no, he tried to climb out every corner of the round pool. I described it like the agitating wash cycle of a washing machine.

Don’t worry, I always let him out after I’ve had a chance to scrub him clean.

Lyric Power Publishing offers an educational 44-page workbook on tortoises, full of fun activities and interesting information about these fun creatures. The workbook for children in PreK-Gr 1 is called My Book About Tortoises and is used by teachers, tutors and parents to supplement the education of their children. Check it out today!

a yellow and green book cover with an image of a desert tortoise

To see all of our comprehensive educational activity sheets and workbooks, click on Our Workbooks.

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Differences Between Turtles and Tortoises? Many! By Elaine A. Powers, Author

A children's book cover, green with a tortoise standing, coming out of a circle, finger pointed, saying Don't Call Me Turtle

My first book in the Don’t Series explores the differences between turtles and tortoises. I tell everyone that my Red-foot tortoise asked me to write the book. I adopted her from another New Jersey family when I lived back East. That in itself is a story. We were both using the Mid-Atlantic Turtle & Tortoise Society to place or adopt. Eventually, someone figured out it would be easier for me to adopt directly from the family, instead of both of us making trips to Maryland. As a result, I ended up with a truly wonderful tortoise named Myrtle. Officially her name was Hebe Myrtle, but she really is a Myrtle.

Since Myrtle free roams in my home and was a companion for my elderly mother, she was always introduced to guests. When I said her name was Myrtle, people would inevitably say, “Oh, Myrtle the turtle.” No–she is Myrtle the tortoise. Consequently, the book about the differences between turtles and tortoises had to be written. Her inspiration resulted in a very engaging book, if I do say so myself. (Well, I’m going by fan mail, too.)

People think they know the differences between turtles and tortoises, but few do. It’s not simply that turtles live in water. Just ask my Desert Box Turtle, Ela. Odds are she’ll never see a body of water, or even flowing water. However, all turtles have the ability to swim. This swimming capability is reflected in the shell and limb structures.

Despite the similarities in their shelled bodies, there are behavioral differences between turtles and tortoises, too.

I don’t want to give away the many differences here, because I know you will love learning all about them them by reading Don’t Call Me Turtle to your little one. It’s written in rhyme—so you both can repeat what you’ve learned with some flair!

You can also explore the life-cycles and traits of turtles and tortoises in Lyric Power Publishing’s fun and educational workbooks. We really enjoy making science fun around here!

A light blue book cover with images of freshwater turtle and green sea turtle

a yellow and green book cover with an image of a desert tortoise

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August 1st is National Girlfriend’s Day by Elaine A. Powers, Author

August 1st is a day to celebrate your girlfriends. I’m certain they meant for it to be a day to celebrate your HUMAN girlfriends–please do celebrate your friendships and don’t let them become neglected. However, I’m celebrating my other girlfriends on this day.  Let me introduce a few.

closeup of a green iguana

This is Calliope, named for the muse of long poetry.  She is my inspiration for my writing, looking over my shoulder.  She is a green iguana.

This is one of my newest girlfriends, Button.  We’ve been building a very special relationship for two years now.  She lets me ride her bareback, so we have a physical connection to go with our spiritual one. She is a Missouri Fox Trotter.

woman sits with tortoise on her lap, reading a book

And last, but never least, this is Myrtle the Red-foot Tortoise. She made me write my very first picture book, Don’t Call Me Turtle!, when she’d been called a turtle one too many times. This picture book explores the differences between tortoises and turtles in rhyme and is a fun-favorite among little ones and their parents. Of course, Myrtle never tires of me reading it to her!

A children's book cover, green with a tortoise standing, coming out of a circle, finger pointed, saying Don't Call Me Turtle

For more fun and educational information about iguanas and tortoises, please see our workbooks and activity sheets.

 

a white and light blue book cover with an image of an iguana's head

a white and blue book cover with an image of a desert tortoise

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Never Say Scoot to a Scute! By Elaine A. Powers, Author

Some words are just fun.  One of my favorites is SCUTE. It’s pronounced like scoot.  Try saying is slow: scoooooot or fast: scutescutescute! Fun, right? I have turtles and tortoises to thank for introducing me to the word scute.

The word scute is from the Latin word scutum, which means “shield.”

The segments of the carapace, or hard-shell, of a tortoise are called scutes. Scutes are made of keratin, like your fingernails. They cover the bone of the turtle or tortoise, like our skin. I confess, I didn’t look closely at the scutes until I wrote my book, Don’t Call Me Turtle. I had discovered how turtles shed their scutes from my painted turtle, Tommy. But tortoises add material between the scutes, creating the appearance of tree rings.

I was surprised to find out that they all have the same number of scutes. Look at the photos below and you’ll see what I mean. A turtle is on the right and a tortoise is on the left.

looking down on the shell of a turtle
See the separate pieces, or scutes, of the shell of the turtle?
looking down at the shell of a tortoise
These are the scutes of the tortoise’s hardshell

 

How many scutes are there? The five scutes in the center are called vertebral scutes. Next to them are 8 costal scutes. Creating a fringe around the carapace are the 24 marginal scutes.

Okay, now that I’ve said all hard-shells have the same number of scutes, I have to mention the exceptions. Loggerhead and Ridley Sea Turtles have 10-12 costal scutes. They make room for the additional scutes by having an elongated carapace.

I hope you now appreciate scutes, not only as a fun-sounding word, but for the important purpose they play in the lives of turtles and tortoises.

To learn more about tortoises and turtles, please click on the books below. They are an economical, fun and interesting way to keep children happily occupied, while learning, during the hot days of summer.

a white and blue book cover with an image of a desert tortoise

a yellow and green book cover with an image of a desert tortoise

A seafoam green book cover about seaturtles, with an image of a Green Sea Turtle

A children's book cover, green with a tortoise standing, coming out of a circle, finger pointed, saying Don't Call Me Turtle

There are MANY differences between tortoises and turtles! That’s why Myrtle the Red-foot Tortoise asked me to write this book. It’s educational but written in rhyme and a lot of fun for both parents and kids.

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Why Does the Tortoise Go Out in the Rain? By Elaine A. Powers, Author

a tortoise on wet patio
Heading out to catch some rain drops!

It’s the start of monsoon season here in the Sonoran Desert. When the rain begins to fall, the tortoise comes out of her den. Why? Is it because she’s afraid the water will rush into her underground den and fill it up?

No, she comes out because it’s time to drink. The desert tortoise finds a depression in the ground where the water collects. Then she drinks and drinks and drinks until her bladder is full.

I’ve tried putting out dishes of water for my tortoise, but she won’t drink from a source where the water is still.  Sometimes, I pretend to be a storm and rain down water from my hose.

It’s a truly wonderful thing when it rains in the desert. We should all be more like the tortoise and go out and drink it in!

Here I am reading Don’t Call Me Turtle! to Myrtle.

If you’d like to know more about tortoises, check out my rhyming book, Don’t Call Me Turtle! My tortoise, Myrtle, asked me to write about the differences between turtles and tortoises because everyone kept calling her Myrtle the Turtle. She’d finally had enough! She likes her book a lot, perhaps just a smidge more than my young readers!

A children's book cover, green with a tortoise standing, coming out of a circle, finger pointed, saying Don't Call Me Turtle

And check our our workbooks on tortoises and turtles at our Lyric Power Publishing Workbooks page. They are full of information, and have lots of fun activity sheets for kids (and adults like them, too, I’m told!) that help to pass the long summer days.

a yellow and green book cover with an image of a desert tortoise