Tiny Tort, Big Park

Horsfield tortoises walk for miles a day in the wild, so I try to let Nugget roam whenever I’m able to. I live in an apartment building and Nugget has a decent-sized enclosure, but I like to give him a good “run” at the park whenever the temperature is warm enough for him. I end up getting a lot of strange looks, as people usually either assume I’ve caught a wild tortoise (even though Horsfields are not native this this area), or that I’m standing in a field staring at my feet alone because he’s so small they can’t see that he’s there! It is pretty cute though, to see him ripping around either at the park or in my parents’ yard. Every now and then curious neighbourhood kids will come check him out as well, as its not every day you run into a baby tortoise at the playground! Here’s a few pictures from our most recent excursion:

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I hover pretty close to prevent any birds from swooping in on him, and so that I can pick him up if a loose dog enters the park. I’m rather worried about him gaining weight too quickly, so a bit of exercise will do him good I’m sure.

Hatchling growth

Little Nugget has grown so much! He hatched in January 2017, I adopted him at the end of April 2017, and he is currently about eight months old. I didn’t keep great records in the panic of becoming a newbie tortoise keeper, but when I got Nugget at 4 months old he was about 2 inches long, give or take a quarter of an inch.

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He was so small that he could hide entirely in the toe of my shoe!

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Currently Nugget is 3 inches long and weights 81 grams. He’s grown a lot, but is still a long way from being full grown, for sure! I technically can’t even say for sure what his sex is as it is near impossible to tell the sex of a tortoise until it is about 4 inches long or about two years old, from what I have read online. His sex doesn’t matter to me much as I have no intentions of ever adding more tortoises to his enclosures or of breeding tortoises. I am curious however to see how big he will get, as males are typically a few inches smaller than female tortoises, and their carapace and tail shapes vary as well.

Note: I realize both of these pictures are taken out of his enclosure, and wanted to note that Nugget is not a free-roaming tortoise in my apartment. He safely spends the majority of his time in his large enclosure and I take him out for supervised hikes around the apartment and in the park, as I currently do not have a backyard. So don’t worry, he is always safe!

A new pool for Nugget

My little Nugget is growing up so fast! He’s been making steady weight gains the past few months, and has a healthy appetite. He has pretty much outgrown the water dish/bathing dish I had for him so I went out and got him a bigger pool.

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A few folks on Instagram had voiced their concerns about the pool, fearing that Nugget would flip and drown, and suggesting a flatter dish. I have previously used flatter dishes for Nugget’s water, but have found he gets stuck in them because of the sleek bottom and sides, even if I put rocks in the bottom. With this he has been climbing in and out with ease, thankfully! He’s only ever flipped once in the four months that I’ve had him, so I’m not super worried!

For a treat yesterday, he got a teeny tiny strawberry, and devoured it!

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It was nice to have a few days off for the long weekend because I got to spend more time with my pets, and let Nugget wander around the house a bit. Me and Nugget are finally starting to get used to each other, and he’s developing his own distinct little tort personality. I used to have a lot of anxiety about owning a tortoise because I have zero experience with reptiles, and I was absolutely paranoid that I would do something horribly wrong. But I feel more comfortable in my Horsfield tortoise knowledge thanks to research and Facebook groups, and don’t stress so much anymore. I feel that I somewhat know what I’m doing, and don’t worry so much about the little guy when I’m not home.