Thursday, 2 August 2012

Tortoise Thursday

Tessie-kilpikonna is an important member of perheeni, even if it is a bit strange having a walking rock who hisses sometimes and often produces puddles from the other end.
I do enjoy telling the story of Mirsku, when he arrived, staying at the top of the stairs for three days as he was afraid to come down past the strange living rock, hehehe.
Äiti then points out that I showed her little respect as a pikku pentu, and sat on her a lot. But there is no evidence of this - just a very friendly respectful and cute photo here!
Tessie-kilpikonna joined Äiti's family two years before Äiti did, and - unlike many of her brothers and sisters - she survived. She is a Horsfields tortoise and may have come from the plains of Russia once. No one knows. Äiti thinks she is 50 years old.
Over time, Tessie became an 'only tortoise' and when Äiti's father died, she traveled to the west of England to join Harris, Lewis, Stran, Aila and Monty. She didn't have a garden then but really enjoyed being with other animals. She ate more, and slept a while in every winter. When Tessie was younger she would be outdoors more in summer and sleep during winter for months, but as she lived more and more inside she slept less, waking up when her belly rumbled a bit and she wanted feeding. And no, she doesn't use a litter box so it gets messy!
When Äiti moved here, she realised it might be hard to import a reptile as tortoises are protected so she sent Tessie to a fantastic summer home where she could graze in a garden and not escape - nor get stolen (a problem in England as tortoises are rare due to licences and very sensible laws). Then, she sorted the papers - including trying to prove that Tessie had been in the family for years. This is hard: how do you prove it ? One trying-to-be-helpful lady at Tessie's original vet in London suggested going back to the shop where she was bought and getting a receipt. Äiti had to laugh at that: it was 46 years ago! And in those days thousands of tortoises were sold and most died. Now that is illegal thankfully. But, there is a wonderful organisation in the UK called The Tortoise Trust and about 30 years ago, Äiti's mother had visited them and discussed Tessie. And they still had paperwork and proof of this, so were willing to supply a letter to prove ownership. Loistava! Äiti then got Tessie microchipped, and all the papers were in order: Tessie flew to Oulu about 4 months after the Britcats did.
Tessie was not so happy to be back inside, but soon Äiti moved to our house and she had access to a garden and loads of her favourite voikukka. And she was with friends.
Often there is interspecies sunbathing on the catio.
 We think she likes the touch of a warm paw.
And of course Stran-veli watches over her. He is perhaps amazed she eats more than he does.
And Mirsku still wonders what on earth she is.
Now for the first time in many years, Tessie can stay out in summer and even though we have long hours of daylight, she walks back into the house in the early afternoon. Sometimes Äiti keeps her outside all night (mainly because her other routine involves producing a mess at 9am). Then she finds a place to keep warm and sleep - she has recently discovered the reindeer hut is cosy! Tessie has also been able to tell us about the weather. If she eats a lot she is storing fat, and this summer she has eaten LOADS. Äiti thinks we might have a 'hard' winter coming. But here a hard winter is different to that in England, so we do not know how Tessie has managed to change her geographical body clock so well.
Anyway, she is a great part of perheeni  and she deserves respect so I try not to step on her too much!

16 comments:

Mark's Mews (Ayla, Iza, and Marley) said...

Forgive us for noticing one small thing, but we just realized you have a mirror next to the stairs. That is so COOL!

Prancer Pie said...

Thanks fur filling us in on Tessie. We have often admired her in the pics. What a wonderful family member she must be. Have a great day, furriends.

Cheysuli and gemini said...

Wow--that is so cool about Tessie! We love hearing about her. We had desert tortoises in a yard near us in the 1970s, shortly before that was outlawed in our state, but they were fascinating.

Terri said...

What an interesting story of Tessie and her life :-) We're glad she has a wonderful home and so many "furiends"!

Katnip Lounge said...

We've often wondered how Tessie fitted in the family. How interesting, and how funny that she scares Mirksu! Mommy must read up and tell us more about tortoises.

Nerissa said...

I just LOVE how you all get along. I JUST LOVE IT! It's really beautiful. Oh, and I must ask... what does perheeni mean. It's a Finnish word? Did I ever tell you 'bout my peep having a Finnish dad? We're practically related!

Sparkle said...

Wow! I had NO idea that Tessie was the senior member of your household including your human! What an amazing story she has - she really does deserve lots of respect!

Not to mention the fact that it made me MOL to find out that Mirsku was so scared of her when they met!

Pelle said...

Nice to see that You in now way are a rasist. Between friends it does not matter how You look or what shape you are.

dArtagnan Rumblepurr/Diego Hamlet Moonfur said...

Friends can be any size or shape. What a sweet pal.

Musta, Harmaa ja Zepa said...

Love you all <3

Tom, Tama-Chan, Sei-Chan, Bibi-Chan, Gen-Chan, Vidock, Violette said...

Thank you for all that great info about Tessie. We now feel we know her so much better!

Purrs,
The Chans

Katie Isabella said...

I have enjoyed that story and the pictures VERY much. What a wonderful member of the family! Loved this.

Naukulan Mamma said...

Lovely story!

meowmeowmans said...

Aw, we really enjoyed learning about Tessie! We love that she is so well loved by you all. :)

Anonymous said...

In olympic mood. GO TESSIE GO!

Vilperi with servant

Kari said...

Leave it to The Tortoise Trust to come through! Paperwork from 30 years ago! Good show! Great story and great photos!