I’m a sucker for the little guys. The ones who aren’t doing so well.

My parents used to own tortoises many years ago, and my mum has been talking recently about getting another. It’s her birthday next week, so I did my research and found a good breeder about an hour’s drive from me.

I looked at all the gorgeous babbies, so perfect and healthy and beautiful. And then I saw her. The one nobody wanted. Smol Girl.

Smol was born with some… Interesting problems. Firstly, she has a deformed shell, which thankfully isn’t causing her any problems right now. There’s a bit of pyramiding, but the conditions were right and her fellow tortoise-folk were in perfect health, so I think it’s partially due to her deformity. Maybe she’s got some internal problems too, but she’s happy enough and I’ll get her checked over by a vet just in case.

Secondly, Hermann’s tortoises should have four or five toes on each front foot. Smol baby has seven. I’m not sure what’s happened here, whether it’s genetic or something went wrong in incubation maybe? But again, it’s not harming her and she can zip around super fast!

She’s going to be secretly chilling in my room for a week, then on the 18th, I’ll introduce her to mum.

She’s had a small drink and dip in the water (plus a tiny poop!) and she ate some clover in the garden today, so I’m optimistic! If anyone has any advice they wish to offer, please do. I only want the best for Smol mutant child

you are a hero! Those are the shells that need us humans the most.


This guy is pushing 70+ years old.

#tortoise #deserttortoise #sandiego #desert #desertlife #nature #animals #old #ancient #living #creature #turtles #turtle #hibiscus #eat #eating #go #gooutside #animalkingdom #wildlife #wildlifephotography #photographer #photo #photography #photooftheday #picoftheday #look #wild #flower #flowers (at San Diego, California)

Taking Care of Tortoise


by Mallory Vopal

Carnegie Museum of Natural History houses a living collection
of animals that serve as important educational ambassadors in many of our programs.   Our Russian tortoise Natasha is part of this
collection. She lives in the lobby of the Earth Theater where she is frequently
seen watching visitors, climbing up on top of her log “house,” and digging in
the coconut substrate in her enclosure.
All of this activity causes her to work up an appetite, and the Lifelong
Learning staff at the museum are tasked with making sure she gets the best diet

We go shopping for her food about twice a month and buy
different types of greens to give her a well varied and nutritious meal.   This week, I purchased kale, endive,
radicchio, and red leaf lettuce.  We
prepare her meals for the whole week at once and store them for when we are
ready to feed her.   Before serving, a
little sprinkle of a special reptile calcium supplement is added to make sure
she stays healthy and strong.  Purple radicchio
is her absolute favorite, and she sifts through her food to find it first!

Mallory Vopal is
Gallery Experience Manager at Carnegie Museum of Natural History and also
manages the Living Collection.  Her animal husbandry background includes
reptiles, birds, amphibians, mammals, and invertebrates.

hee hee thats what I do with my radicchio too! we torts are high end!