All of the tortoises that I owned eventually died during hibernation. One, met its end when my dad inadvertently put something heavy on top of the cardboard box that held my hibernating pet. Come spring, I found the flattened box in my dad's messy, disorganised shed. It was with a heavy heart that I opened it, knowing that the poor creature could not possibly have survived.
Others did not meet such a brutal end but I can remember the horrible feeling of pulling back the straw and finding lifeless bodies. We did manage to get our pets to survive some winters. In the spring, you would hear scratching noises when they woke and started moving around. It was if the scratching noises failed to happen that I would investigate and inevitably have to deal with death.
When the horror of the tortoise trade was exposed and imports eventually banned, tortoises entered the realm of pricey, exotic pets requiring specialist knowledge and equipment. The pocket money back yard tortoise days were over.
|Eno (later renamed as Crusty Pie) loved strawberries|
|Me and little sister Wendy posing with our tortoise|
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