Dwarfy is a young male, captive bred box turtle. He is a Three-Toed/Ornate hybrid ( his mother was a Three-Toed and his father an Ornate box turtle ). Dwarfy is a little over 6 years old, and is highly intelligent. He was born indoors and has always known people, therfore, he is highly social and inquisitive when around humans. He always knows right where the camera is and always looks you right in the face. Dwarfy can differentiate shapes and colors of different food containers, knowing which one he was fed from last, and will even do tricks like standing up and balancing on his hind end to get a treat.
Dwarfy died today after as as yet unknown traumatic event. He was found injured and having respiratory difficulties. His eyes were fixed and his mouth wide open. It was apparent he was in pain. He had been trying to mate with Precious. His feet had been pinned into her shell and he had been dragged around a while it seemed. I suspect one of the other nearby males may have also turned aggressive and bit his neck causing a spinal injury, though there was no visible trauma to his neck or head. There weren't many other rational explanations. I gave him meloxicam for the pain and inflammation, hydration injections, respiratory stimulants, and tubed him to help with his breathing. I stayed with him all day long and never left him. There came a point he just would not hold his head up and breathe on his own, so I reluctantly took the tube out and we went outside to watch the sunset together.
Dwarfy was my little buddy. I've had him since he was a little hatchling, just about the size of a quarter or less. He was the second smallest runt in the clutch, being only slightly larger than his sibling, Peanut. I labored to teach him to eat greens, which he would only eat if I held them for him. He loved peaches, and he loved ice cream too, if he could steal it from me. He has been with me through hurricanes and homeless-ness, moving countless times, and through so many other tragedies and the loss of other animals. He was here before I ever had the idea to start rescuing as a way of life, but he helped me come to that decision. He was one of only a few turtles who will follow me around, he always looked you in the face, and he was very gentle to any other species of animal, turtle or not. He was interested in all other animals, and was aggressive toward none. He had real personality and intelligence you could see, and having him around really helped me get through so much. To say I will miss him, is not quite saying enough.
Bask In Peace my friend.
Precious is an old female Three Toed box turtle. She is 20+ years old, but we can't exactly tell how old. She is very docile towards people. She never tries to bite, no matter what you do to her. Precious was found in an open field at Lake Wichita Park. She had a severed rear foot, likely from a predator trying to kill her, and she was suffering from a shell infection, probably brought on my shell damage from frostbite the previous winter. She was being stung by fire ants when found, and just appeared to be giving up. She was just sitting there exhausted and not moving. She only raised her head, but did not try to walk away when approached. She was taken in and had her wounds cleaned up, and she was treated with antibiotics and anti-parasitics. She also got plenty of good turtle eats. She has been doing very well and gaining weight since being taken in. Precious is often left outside to roam freely for hours. She never ventures far. She just pokes around the yard foraging for stuff to nibble.
Saguaro was our male Regal Horned Lizard from the Sonora desert of Az. Sadly, Saguaro died of an unknown illness and several varied medical treatments failed to save him. Saguaro was very calm, and always aware, and he would eat from our hands. He will be missed.
Bask in Peace '04? - 6/16/07
Saguaro as a baby
Solace is Saguaro's girl, and is also from the Sonora desert. She came to us the Fall of '06, emaciated/dehydrated and at 20grams, she was half the weight of Saguaro, even though she was also an adult. After several weeks of guarded care she began to put on weight at increasing rate. She now weighs over 90 grams and is safely in hibernation for the winter.
Solace (top) and Saguaro
Nearly a year old
Our baby female Regal Horned Lizard. She was hatched in 06 and is legally captive bred from Az. Her name is from the "Soyal" celebration of the Hopi. Soyal celebrates the winter solstice as the departing of winter and welcoming back of the sun. At Soyal, the sun is symbolically, ceremonially, turned back, thus renewing life for all of the world.
[Update 7/09] "La~la", as she is affectionately called, is now a mature adult Regal Horned Lizard. She wanted to mate last year, and laid infertile eggs, but I had no male for her. As a rescuer, I only get what I get, and I don't shop around. Propagating them in captivity has been backseat to just offering sanctuary to the ones that need it.
La~la still has a bit to grow to top out like the other Regals, but she gets bigger every year. She is a good eater, and can best be described as a little ant-buster vacuum cleaner. She knows where the food comes from too. She watches me when she is out of food, and if I am hand-feeding her a few ants at a time, when she is done gobbling them up, she always looks up for more. She knows they drop in from the sky like magic! On occasion, I also take her with me out to the wild and let her eat right from the harvester ant colonies. See my youtube channel from the videos page for more.
Above: This is Grumman, our male Budgerigar. He was Bing's flock mate. Grumman also has been trained to fly to us, the same as Bing had been. His favorite toy is a string of small round Christmas jingle bells. He loves them and will follow them anywhere. He so refuses to leave this toy, that we are almost certain he could be taken outside without flying away, or be called back to us by rattling the bells. We may even attempt to test this theory soon. First with a tether or harness.
In Memory of....
Above: This is Bing. He was someone else's disposable pet who was dropped off at Petco because they were moving, and apparently did not feel enough of an attachment to this bird to take him with them. They were also so inconsiderate that they left absolutely no history on him, no housing, no toys for him, not even so much as his name. Just dropped him off at a store. We took him in right away and gave him a nice big cage full of toys and treats. He got his name because he loved bells, and performed a bell mimic so realistic, that you could not tell which was him and which was the bell "binging". This loving bird took to us so gratefully, that within days he was flying out of his open cage to alight on my hand and shoulder. It took little more than a week and he would come flying out of his cage when called. He also liked to sit on our shoulders and preen us or make warbling sound in our ears. He loved his toy rattle ball, and loved to play with it on the floor with people by pushing it to you. Bing also loved the shower very much and would sing when he heard running water.
Sadly, Bing was killed one day when something spooked him from his perch in the shower and the cat ( Angelina ) made a fluke grab under the bathroom door. It took only seconds, and he was mortally wounded before we could get the door open. Bing always perched high above the floor when something startled him from a perch, and usually flew back when called. This day for some reason he ended up inches away from the door, on the floor. The doors had always been religiously closed off before the birds were taken out of thier cage, but it wasn't enough that day.
Unfortunately, though this cat had been a part of the home for many years and was a rescue herself, after being found in a dumpster as a newborn kitten, she had to be removed from this household. Most of the animals we work to rescue here pose little to no danger to the other animals if they get lose; be they squirrel, turtle, bird, or lizard. We just could not have such a cat as a free roaming hunter in the house anymore. Even closed doors were not enough protection to the other animals from her.
Bing tries to get box turtles to play
Below: Bing comes out of his cage to land on my hand when called. This was before we got our new camera, and I really wish the quality was better...