Friday, December 28, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012 =)

Merry Christmas, Everyone  :)
Cute geochelone sulcata tortoise pet beside a Christmas tree.
I weigh 2.95 kg or 6.5 lbs or 104 ounces at 2 1/2 yrs old as of Dec. 12, 2012  =)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Whitish Chalky Substance in My Wee

Every once in a while, I expel this whitish chalky substance along with my wee.  Don't panic  =)  This whitish chalky substance is is metabolized protein, which I sometimes expel along with my wee in the form of urates.  Keeping myself well hydrated by soaking for 10 minutes everyday makes it sooooooo much easier for me to detox myself of these semi-solid, white deposits.   It's a good thing that Liza takes time to prepare my soaking tub everyday with slightly warm water  =)  Here's a tip on how to save on electricity when heating your soaking water:  When it's bright and sunny outside, leave your soaking tub of water under the unfiltered sunlight for at least 15 minutes, and voila!  You have instant warm water  =)
cute geochelone sulcata tortoise expelling urates while weeing and soaking. Cute and funny pet animals in the philippines, japan, united kingdom, united states, uk, us, germany, blogspot, blog, Tortoise Trust
"Ahh!  Lovely! This is me having a wonderful bath under the sun.  That whitish/pinkish, chalky, semi-solid substance that you see near my bum are the urates that I expelled while weeing in my bath."
 You May Also Want To Read Some of My Other Related Blog Posts:
 •       Having A Detox Spa In My Soaking Tub

Friday, November 23, 2012

Signs of New Shell Growth - Pink Outlines on Plastron & White Outlines In Between Scutes

How do you know that you are growing?  Here's how:  Ask your human to pick you up and look at your plastron (bottom shell).  If he/she sees pink outlines in between parts of your plastron, then those pink outlines are signs of new shell growth.  It means that you're still growing  =)
Geochelone sulcata tortoise pink outlines on plastron are a sign of new shell growth. Cute and funny sulcata pet tortoise
"Those pink outlines in between parts of my plastron are a sign of new shell growth"  =)


On the other hand, if your human notices white outlines in between your scutes (parts of your top shell), then assure him/her that those white outlines are signs of new shell growth, too  =)
Geochelone sulcata tortoise pink outlines in between scutes are a sign of new shell growth. Cute and funny sulcata pet tortoise
"The white outlines in between parts of my top shell are signs of new shell growth.  I'm a growing baby girl! lol!"  =)



Off topic: I'm so excited because my human mum joined the Tortoise Trust forum today.  The information on that site helped save my life and I am forever grateful to Andy Highfield & his team.  They have a charity called the "Jill Martin Fund for Tortoise Welfare & Conservation".  I want to post a banner link to that charity's website on here so that they could continue to help tortoises like myself from around the globe  =)  I'll work on this after the weekend.  Have a great weekend, everyone!!!!!!!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Work Out Those Muscles & Bones! =)

Take time to exercise everyday to help increase your body's metabolism, and strengthen your muscles and bones.  Here I am exercising my leg muscles.  So that in the event that I get sick and lethargic, my legs will be strong enough for me to still be able to carry myself around.  I'm sure everybody gets sick at least once in their lifetime, right?  It's better to be prepared at all times  =)  If you just woke up but for some odd reason you still find yourself too lazy to walk, then I suggest that you have a change of environment.  Go outside, and you'll find how the bright environment, varying ground textures of grass & rock & pavement, and sights as far as the eyes can see, can be very stimulating to your senses -- compared to the cold marble floor inside the house and the boring four corners of your room that you are so used to.  You'll find youself walking & exploring in no time  =)  Feel free to leave a comment below.
"Here I am exercising my leg muscles.  So that in the event that I get sick and lethargic, my legs will be strong enough for me to still be able to carry myself around." 

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My Bedtime Prayer For All My Sick Tortoise Friends

Dear God,
Please help all of my sick tortoise friends heal from their illnesses, especially those who are suffering from the dreaded MBD (metabolic bone disease). May they have the strength to maintain their appetite in order to sustain their nutritional needs;  May they have the will to survive for themselves & for their humans who love them very, very much. Please lead my sick tortoises' humans to veterinarians who have actual experience with handling & curing tortoises.  May these humans have the patience and necessary resources to get thru this challenging phase.  God bless us all -- myself, my human mum, my tortoise friends, and my tortoise friends' humans.  Saint Francis of Asisi, pray for us.  Amen  :)
A geochelone sulcata tortoise eating yellow bells.
Saint Francis of Asisi is the patron saint of animals.
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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

My Recommended Nom Nomz List: Grasses, Flowers, Greens & Other Sources of Multiminerals

I often come across the question about what comprises a healthy geochelone sulcata tortoise diet.  So I have compiled a list from my reliable sources as well as based on my own experience. Our diet should comprise "70% grass", and "30% other greens & flowers & other sources of multiminerals" to ensure that we get as much amount of fiber, calcium & multiminerals to stay healthy.  Baby sulcata tortoises & juveniles like myself are especially in need of high amounts of dietary calcium and an adequate source of vitamin D3 (ex: UVB from unfiltered sunlight) to support our rapid growth stage. Remember that when choosing what to eat, high fiber, high calcium, very very low phosphorous or phosphorus-free, very low protein, no sugar, multiminerals, organic/pesticide-free/artificial-fertilizer-free and variety are the important keywords to keep in mind  =)  Happy nomz nomz!!!

Flowers as Part of 30% of Our Diet (organically grown/ no pesticides/ no chemical fertilizer):
 •       Gumamela flowers or Hibiscus flowers & its leaves (also available in most of Southeast Asia)
•        Dandelion flowers & its leaves
•        Petunia
 •       Hibiscus flowers
•        Viola sp
•        Rose petals
•        Santan flowers (comes in color orange, yellow & pink; available in most of Southeast Asia)
•       Pumpkin flowers / Squash flowers or "Bulaklak ng Kalabasa" (also available in most of Southeast Asia)
•        Yellow bell flowers (also available in most of Southeast Asia)
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Here I am stuffing my face with pumpkin flower or Squash flower or "Bulaklak ng Kalabasa". I've just discovered this last month! nomnomz nomnomz nomz!
 Other Foods as Part of 30% of Our Diet:
•        Non-toxic weeds like clovers
•        De-spined Opuntia pads <<-- This is very rich in calcium :)
•        De-spined prickly pear pads
•       Squash (bite size cubes) - eat a serving once a week for vitamin A to avoid eye infection & loss of eyesight 
•     "Kangkong" or water spinach or water convolvulus (Scientific name: Ipomoea aquatica; Also available in most of Southeast Asia)

70% of Our Diet Should Be Comprised of Grasses & Hays (organically grown/ no pesticides/ no chemical fertilizer):
•        Carabao grass or Buffalo grass
•        Couch grass
•        Kikuyu grass
•        Dallas grass
•        Blue Grama grass
•        Big Bluestem grass
•        Darnel Rye grass
•        Wintergrass or Bluegrass
•        Western Wheatgrass
•        Fescue sp. grasses” 
** Don't munch on hays that have excessively “prickly” seed heads, as these can hurt our mouths or eyes  :'(
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Grass & hays should comprise 70% of our diet -- but don't ignore the other 30% for other foods too, as these are our other source of calcium & multiminerals essential for our health.
 IMPORTANT: One more thing, unless you live in the arid savannah, which is our natural habitat (and I highly doubt this, as there are no computers to view this blog from in the wild lol!) where nature provides a tremendous variety of food rich in dietary calcium & multiminerals & ample exposure to vitamin D3 from all-day access to unfiltered sunlight, I would highly suggest that you supplement your daily diet with a "powdered phosphorus-free source of calcium and vitamin D3" like "Rep-Cal" or "Miner-All".  If you live very near the equator like me where the sunshine emits a highly concentrated amount of UVB rays and you also stay out in the sun at least 4 to 5 hours a day, then I would suggest that you take a "powdered phosphorus-free source of calcium WITHOUT vitamin D3" like Nutrobal which also contains multiminerals (But when the rainy season or cold season arrives please revert back to a "powdered phosphorus-free source of calcium WITH vitamin D3" supplement); Ask your tort's veterinarian where you could buy this or maybe order it on Ebay.  It would also be great to have a cuttlefish bone in your enclosure to help you "self regulate" your own calcium intake, as well as help trim your beak!  I don't have a cuttlebone yet -- I wish I do -- but having one is a best practice recommended by my expert & highly experienced source, Tortoise Trust.  Again, please buy a multi-minerals supplement that does not contain Phosphorous because almost all greens already contain an abundant amount of phosphorous while only very small trace amounts of calcium or none can be found in the grasses and greens that I eat.  We are aiming for a Calcium : Phosphorous ratio of 2:1 or 3:1.  Phosphorous inhibits calcium absorption.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Why Basking in Unfiltered Sunlight is Important For You & Me =)

Ok. This particular blog post requires some serious talk.  I will try my best to sum up everything in the shortest, simplest possible way for all of you folks out there who have short attention span like my mum  :)  You discuss something too long-winded to her and rest assured you will lose her.  Anyway, here it is:

Bottomline:
A.. We, sulcata tortoises “synthesize our own vitamin D3 from the UV component of sunlight”.
B.  “Vitamin D3 is essential for the effective metabolism of dietary calcium in reptiles.”
C.  Three to four hours outdoors in unfiltered sunlight would suffice.  Too much isn’t always good.

Here’s a simple flow-chart that I made to illustrate how we synthesize vitamin D3 when we expose ourselves to unfiltered sunlight, then use it to metabolize the calcium content from the food we eat:

Princess Peachy is exposed to UV rays from unfiltered sunlight  -->  Certain UV wavelengths including UV-B reacts with sterols in my skin to produce “pre-vitamin D3”  -->  A process that also depends upon heat converts this to vitamin D3  -->  Vitamin D3 metabolizes the calcium content from the food that I eat.
sulcata tortoise, geochelone sulcata, basking, unfiltered sunlight
"Vitamin D3 metabolizes the calcium content from the food that I eat"
IMPORTANT:  “If inadequate vitamin D3 is available, the animal will rapidly develop the condition known as MBD or Metabolic Bone Disease. In this condition, bone density suffers and various other serious metabolic problems occur. Symptoms include swellings, lethargy, general weakness and tremors. The shell may also become soft and pliable. MBD remains the number one killer of captive lizards, tortoises and turtles (snakes are less affected as being highly carnivorous they easily obtain their D3 requirement via their prey). To prevent MBD, adequate levels of calcium must be present in the diet, and adequate (but not excessive) quantities of D3 must be provided by means of dietary supplementation or by exposure to adequate levels of UVB lighting. Rapidly growing specimens such as hatchlings are most at risk, although adults too will be affected if maintained in a state of deficiency for long enough. Egg laying females are also at great risk, due to the extra demands egg production places upon their calcium metabolism.”  (Quotation from Tortoise Trust)

I would advise that you make sure you are well hydrated (read my blog post on “soaking”) before going for a long walk in the sun outside.  And soon as you step out, search for a shady place that you can run to just in case the temps get too high, to avoid overheating.  That’s it.  :)  If you have any questions, just leave a comment below.
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"Search for a shady place that you can run to just in case the temps get too high, to avoid overheating."
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Friday, October 19, 2012

My Favorite Song: "I Can See Clearly Now"

Here are the lyrics of my new favorite song, "I Can See Clearly Now" (Originally written and recorded by Johnny Nash in 1972).  After all the heartbreak of losing my bestfriend and all the illness (metabolic bone disease & runny nose syndrome or RNS) that I went thru, I have finally recovered.  Here it is.  Have a good life, everyone  :) Enjoy!

 "I Can See Clearly Now"
By Johnny Nash (it's available on the iTunes Store)

I can see clearly now the rain is gone.
I can see all obstacles in my way.
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind.
It's gonna be a bright (bright)
bright (bright) sunshiny day.
It's gonna be a bright (bright)
bright (bright) sunshiny day.

Oh, yes I can make it now the pain is gone.
All of the bad feelings have disappeared.
Here is that rainbow I've been praying for.
It's gonna be a bright (bright)
bright (bright) sunshiny day.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Having A Detox Spa In My Soaking Tub

The sky is clear and the harsh heat from the sweltering sun is bearing down on my keratin and scutes.  Today is a good day to have a 10-minute soak in my tub  :)  Soaking in slightly warm water lets me do several things all at once!  Whenever I'm soaking, I take this opportunity to drink water, absorb water into my dry skin, clean my shell & nails, help me poop and wee, and most of all, soaking helps me flush out the urates thru my cloaca.   You don't believe me?  Try it yourself  :)
"Do you see what I mean? This is what I'm talking about lol! Here I am having a relaxing soak on my tub while listening to my fave song, "I Can See Clearly Now" (by Johnny Nash; I got this from the iTunes Store  :)  I covered my poop with smileys just in case you're eating while reading this post lol! "
"I hydrate myself while soaking even if you don't see me actually drinking water from my mouth.  Sometimes, the water enters my body thru my cloaca. The water is yellowish here because of my wee -- I missed my soak yesterday, which explains why the color of my wee is a bit dark. (pic taken Dec. 2012)"
I like to soak in my tub under the morning/afternoon sun or under my basking lamp, because I easily get too chilly brrrrr!  I could  get sick from the cold water.  Plus my human makes sure that the water level is just high enough to submerge my cloaca (my butt), but shallow enough so that the water level doesn't go higher than the edges of my plastron or doesn't soak my chin.  This way, even if I retract my head into my shell, my mouth & nares (nostrils) would still be above the water.  There was one time when I was younger and my human was still soaking me in too much water, I accidentally inhaled some water into my nares.  My nares got irritated, which later resulted in me getting runny nose  :(  So there you go!  Be extra careful with your water level when soaking in your tub.  Try having this detoxifying 10-minute soaks daily and you will find that it's very refreshing  :)  If you have any questions, just leave a comment below.
"Make sure that the water level is just high enough to submerge my cloaca (my butt), but shallow enough so that the water level doesn't go higher than the edges of my plastron or doesn't soak my chin.  I was only about a year old here."
  
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