Sunday, October 17, 2010

the little turtle (ahem... tortoise)


There was a little turtle
He lived in a box.
He swam in a puddle.
He climbed on the rocks.

He snapped at a mosquito.
He snapped at a flea.
He snapped at a minnow.
He snapped at me.

He caught the mosquito.
He caught the flea.
He caught the minnow.
But he didn't catch me.

— Vachel Lindsay


The slow-moving guy in the above photo is not actually a turtle.

He's a Gopher tortoise,

who lives in a burrow like the one below.



This is the entrance to Mr. Tortoise's home.

Would you believe his burrow is 15 feet long and 6.5 feet deep?

Would you believe the Gopher tortoise shares his burrow with over 350 other species,

including burrowing owls, mice, possums, rabbits, and even diamondback rattlesnakes?

He's a pretty friendly guy.

And he doesn't eat fleas or even minnows.

He's a vegetarian.

15 comments:

Kay L. Davies said...

He's really cute, even if he isn't a turtle, Leslie. I just can't imagine him in a burrow with 350 other animals. It must get very crowded, even if it is 15 feet long.
Of course, he can withdraw into his shell if he isn't feeling sociable. ;~)
When my brother and his wife lived in California, they had 2 desert tortoises who seemed to prefer a diet of green peas to anything else. Definitely vegetarians.

Kay, Alberta

Claudia said...

oh this is lovely Leslie!
when i was a child, i once got bitten by a turtle, didn't think they could bite cause i saw no teeth....but yeah - they can...
have a lovely sunday and thanks for your nice words over at my blog

Dwight said...

Such a cute poem! Have a lovely day :)

S. Etole said...

I haven't read that poem for years ... thanks for the reminder.

Cindybrown said...

Very nice photo and loved the info on the tortoise:)

Laura said...

sweet...we've found turtles on the road in spring...we always release them back into the wetlands and pray they stay out of the roads!

Dianne said...

Down here they share them with Eastern Indigo Snakes (they are gorgeous large glossy black snakes) and Gopher Frogs too. Obviously illegal now, but we used to catch Gopher Tortoises and paint their shells... Thanks for the post...

B. Meandering said...

I remember this poem. Cute matchup with your photo and your animal history moment. :) I liked it. But his home sounds much too crowded for this reclusive type.

Oh, I played the video of your precious dog singing for my husband and he did that deep chuckle of his when she pointed her nose up and began to howl. He wondered if it hurt her ears too, so I showed him your comments. He found it all interesting. I think I want a dog like yours!

Jodi said...

Yeah, but does he sing when you play piano?

Leslie said...

Beth - That basenji diva is a funny dog, isn't she? My Simba was like her. Very dramatic soul. But basenjis have their downsides, too - stubborn, independent, difficult to train. They can be very addicting, though. If you're ever serious about getting one, email me and I'll tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly before you decide.

Jodi - No, to my knowledge the Gopher tortoise doesn't sing : ) But he might salsa to the diamondback's rattle...

Milly said...

he is cute . i want him as a pet :)

keLi said...

loved this ... my little guy found a turtle a few weeks ago that he loved so. however, as a show of mercy to the poor turtle, we set him free when Bex wasn't looking.

have been thinking of you, though i'm sporadic with all things bloggy. hope that you are well.

natsumi nishizumi said...

What a lovely poem! I used to have turtle when I was in child and play with him... he was cute!

Rick said...

Aha - so THAT's what they're called ! I got some great photos of one when we were in Port Charlotte in Feb - the tortoise was quickly making his way back home because it was too cold to be out then !

Nice poem to go along with the nice shot.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

This post was selected one of my great posts of the week: http://www.jdaniel4smom.com/2010/10/great-posts-of-week-october-23.html .