Malti Explains Redfoot Tortoises: Moss

When Malti was just a teensy tort (which seems like forever ago but was really only a scant handful of double-digit months), her favorite hobby was hiding.

She liked hiding even more than she liked eating, which is frankly hard to believe now.

Her favorite hiding place was anywhere there was a big pile of fresh wet sphagnum moss. And her preferred ratio of “tortoise to sphagnum moss” was on par with “needle in a haystack,” size-wise.

Sometimes I would have to literally shovel piles of this stuff out of the way to try to locate her for soaking and snacks.

Here, it may be difficult to properly appreciate the impact sphagnum moss has made on our combined lives without a more thorough explanation. I order the moss online, and when it comes it looks sort of like a moss brick. It is soft-hard, very dry, flat and neatly packaged in plastic.

What you have to do to get it ready is submerge it in warm water. Then it becomes like one of those “hatch a dinosaur” egg projects, where it expands and expands until it sucks up all the water and starts on the bowl.

And it begins to emit a distinct odor….one you remember from your middle school gym period locker rooms. This odor fills up your whole house, and that is how you know the moss is finally ready to be transferred from the bowl into the tortoise habitat.

That challenging and stinky task completed, all you have to do is sit back and wait and watch in wonder as your pint-sized shell heads straight for it and bulldozes her way in, turning around every which way and just getting it all settled in just the way she likes it.

Malti may be ten times her hatchling size today, but her love for burrowing into a huge, fresh, wet stinking pile of sphagnum moss, puppy-style, springs eternal.

And remember…..

4 comments

    • GOSH is right. Sometimes I turn around and am like…..where did that huge tortoise come from? And what was I thinking? đŸ˜‰ tg for cuteness!!

    • Just passing along what I’m learning- the shells do keep me on my toes, that’s for sure. Thanks for reading!:)

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