Malti Explains Redfooted Tortoises: Bathrooming

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Malti in #2 position….with the main event being imminent.

Like all living beings, Malti has plenty of bathrooming to do.

But since Malti was the first tortoise I’ve ever lived with, and she has only one bathroom opening (in her tail) just like my parrot, Pearl (his is under his tail), I guess I just assumed it would all come out together (pee and poop as one deposit) like it does with Pearl.

A few months after Malti came to live with me, my family took a trip up to Cape Cod. Malti had to stay behind (it is very difficult to travel with a tortoise, especially if you are taking a plane!).

A dear friend of mine agreed to watch her for me, and she was doing a really good job, including taking her out daily in the yard to run around and dig and explore.

I will NEVER forget the day my friend called me to report that Malti had PEED all over the sidewalk. She actually called and said, “Um, Malti just peed like, a LOT – is that normal?”

As if I knew. I was terrified and immediately googled “tortoise pee” on my phone. I called her right back and said, “Well, google says tortoises pee. SO I guess they must be right!”

But it still took me some time to calm down and realize this was a normal tortoise bathrooming behavior.

Pooping, on the other hand, is unmistakable….at least if you have a tortoise named Malti.

First, there is the smell. Sometimes she smells like very strong salmon, but often she smells like a smell I can only describe as “tortoise poop” (it’s probably similar to how human parents know their infant needs to have their diaper changed). When I smell it, I just know.

Next, she raises up on her back legs. And then….out it comes. Malti is about six inches long right now, and her poop is usually about the same size and shape as one of her back legs. I have heard that when she reaches her full adult size of 12 inches or more, she will be able to produce a whole pound of tortoise poop in a single, um, sitting.

From what I’ve seen thus far, I don’t doubt it for a second.

And remember…..

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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