Resting in Place with Malti: Little Tortoise People

Being born with a shell on your back means you get used to shells fairly early in life. Like right on Day One. Unfortunately, the same can’t always be said for everyone else. It isn’t your fault your shell is really cute. Or curved. Or colorful. You can’t help it if it came fully loadedContinue reading “Resting in Place with Malti: Little Tortoise People”

Redfoot Tortoise Gets Shell Scratches

Growing up can be itchy business. While many other beings may not look at your redfoot tortoise shell and see a living organism, you know differently. Your keratin-covered, bony shell, which is attached to your spinal column and skeleton, is literally what holds you up. When it grows, you grow….whether you were particularly wanting toContinue reading “Redfoot Tortoise Gets Shell Scratches”

Day 203: Tortoise Shell Scratches

Growing up fast has its advantages. It also has its disadvantages. Among the advantages – you are no longer “appetizer sized,” you are finally able to “throw your weight around” (in a manner of speaking) and you get growing up over with. Among the disadvantages – growing up can be itchy business when you areContinue reading “Day 203: Tortoise Shell Scratches”

Day 134: Itchy Scratchy Tortoise Shell

It is pretty cool to be born with your home right on your back. But then again, sometimes it is not so cool, especially when your home goes through a growth spurt and starts to….itch. Beings without shells often don’t realize that your shell is a living entity – it is as much alive asContinue reading “Day 134: Itchy Scratchy Tortoise Shell”

Day 71: Everyone Wants a Shell

Being born with a shell on your back is pretty much the best. All you have to do is look around you to see that everyone else wants one of their own. There are so many shell-shaped structures in the world! Your large shell-less assistant even brings some of them home and puts them intoContinue reading “Day 71: Everyone Wants a Shell”

Malti Explains Redfoot Tortoises: Cloaking Device

Even when Malti was 4 weeks old and the size of my palm, she already had the most gorgeous coloring. Her orange and red dots covered her lower face, chin, neck, all four legs and feet and her little tail. As she gets bigger, so do her dots. Her colors seem to change every day!Continue reading “Malti Explains Redfoot Tortoises: Cloaking Device”

Malti Explains Redfooted Tortoises: Pyramiding

While it is true that the technical term “pyramiding” sounds like it refers to the mysterious great pyramids in Egypt, in this particular case it refers to the shape of a turtle or tortoise shell under some very particular conditions. Unfortunately, these conditions are not ideal ones for shell formation. So the term “pyramiding” actuallyContinue reading “Malti Explains Redfooted Tortoises: Pyramiding”

Malti Explains Redfooted Tortoises: Shell Scratches

The first time I saw Malti back up next to a rock and start rubbing her shell against it, it took me a bit to figure out what was going on. But then I realized….she is growing! Her shell itches! My parrot, Pearl, experiences a similar issue when he molts out old feathers and thenContinue reading “Malti Explains Redfooted Tortoises: Shell Scratches”

Malti Explains Redfooted Tortoises: The Shell

Scientists trying to describe what a red footed tortoise shell looks like often use terms such as “loaf shaped,” “bumpy” and “blotchy colored.” It is no mystery why scientists aren’t in demand to write for beauty magazines. To add (um) fuel to that particular (er) fire, the red footed tortoise’s formal scientific name, Geochelone carbonaria, translates toContinue reading “Malti Explains Redfooted Tortoises: The Shell”


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