Day 11: Tortoise Sneezing Fit!

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The large shell-less assistant here…..

One reason “Love and Feathers” became “Love and Feathers and Shells” is because, well, our little flock expanded.

First there was one new shelled being, and then there was a second new shelled being, and then there was no avoiding it – we weren’t just Love and Feathers anymore!

The second reason was because I discovered shells aren’t at all easy to care for….like, at ALL. In fact, they are really mysterious. Enigmatic. Sometimes scary.

I will never forget the first time Malti peed. Because tortoises and turtles have one waste opening just like Pearl does, I guess I automatically assumed Malti would go the same way Pearl went – kind of an “all in one” deal if you know what I mean.

I went off to Cape Cod to visit my folks and left Malti with a dear friend. One day she texted me to ask, “Do tortoises pee?” I texted back, “Um, I don’t know – why?” And that was how I learned tortoises pee.

The other day I learned something else I didn’t know about tortoises, or at least about my particular tortoise. They sneeze! They can sneeze just once, and they can sneeze many times in a row, just like people can.

My darling little girl recovering after her nasal flush (you can see the spot on her left arm where they gave her the sedation….snif!).

But when tortoises sneeze it is way scarier because they can’t tell their mama (that being me) why they are sneezing or what they need to make it stop. This means the only option is to make a video of (very cute and very scary) tortoise sneezes and send it to Malti’s vet.

What we ended up doing was all that, plus I brought Malti in to be checked out all over and then she stayed in the hospital to have a procedure called a “nasal flush.”

This, I am told, is like a Neti pot for tortoises, only with tortoises they have to sedate them, put a speculum in their mouth to block the glottis, send the saline solution in through the nose and let it rush out the mouth along with anything that might be trapped inside their nostrils.

What might get trapped inside a tortoise’s nostrils, you may be wondering? (I know I was.) Our vet tells me she has seen lots of things, including sticks, small pebbles, sand, insects, mucus and food items.

Malti’s nasal flush results were, in a word, “uneventful.” The official verdict for her sneezing fit and the resulting very pricey nasal flush? “Tortoises will be tortoises.”

But at least her mama got a very cute video of Malti sneezing out of it all, and now you get to see it too!

Pearl, Malti, Bruce & Shannon

Watch & Listen: Pearl & his mommy read from “Love & Feathers”

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Published by Shannon Cutts

Cockatiel, redfoot tortoise and box turtle mama. Author, writer, pet & people blogger.

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