As Herman’s grazing time outside dwindled, the guardian was once again scanning the produce section for new, but healthy things for Herman to eat. She’d been following startortoise, whose beautiful Indian star tortoises loved the okra (AKA lady fingers) they got once a week. So, when she found some in the grocery store she bought a few to see if Herman would eat them. He loved them. Which immediately made the guardian suspicious. A quick check on The Tortoise Table’s plant database confirmed that okra was not, in fact, an approved food for Hermann’s tortoises. Perhaps next time she’d check the database first, before feeding Herman something she’d seen being fed to other species of tortoises.
After months of tremendous effort, Herman finally managed to reach the lip of his plastic bath tub. He wasn’t there for long and he wasn’t able to do it again that day, but he proved he could do it, and that was all the encouragement he needed to keep trying to escape.
Herman was not happy. He was not happy at all. The morning had started off well enough, with a nice bath and some yummy dandelion greens. But then the unthinkable happened. Finding that she had a bit of extra time before work, the guardian decided to trim his nails. She grabbed each leg, one at a time, and snip! snip! snip! snip! Before he had a chance to process what was going on, it was done. If he was being honest, it wasn’t a completely horrible experience, but he didn’t want her to know that. So he gave her a very long, very grumpy stare to discourage her from doing it again.
It took him a week, but Herman decided to explore his new home. It had occurred to him that he might find other possible hiding spots if he looked around a bit more, and a tortoise couldn’t have too many places to hide. His favourite spot so far was in the shadow of the red geranium plant because it had the least amount of light. It meant napping without Little Pig during the day, but some sacrifices had to be made.
Something that the guardian hoped to fix in the new tortoise table were the reflections that Herman could see in the glass of his old vivarium. What she had forgotten, unfortunately, was that clear acrylic was highly reflective. Seeing his old friend, Hildy, didn’t seem to bother Herman, though, so the guardian decided not to worry about it.
Many aspects of Herman’s tortoise table had been carefully researched, except for possibly the most important: light placement. Specifically, the UVB lights that helped a Canadian tortoise like Herman thrive indoors. The tortoise table wasn’t finished – there was a loft to complete, but the guardian thought that when she was done she’d poke around the tortoise care forums and make sure that she’d done everything right.
Herman refused to come out of his log, choosing instead to snuggle up with Little Pig and sleep the day away. So many things had changed and it was pretty overwhelming for a little Hermann’s tortoise. He used to know every piece of his home and now it was all different. Even familiar things, like his plastic cactus, his pond and his food bowl felt strange because they were all in the wrong spot. It was going to take some time, but the guardian was sure that Herman would learn to love his new home.
Anticipating some resistance because of the dramatic change in his home, the guardian bought Herman some lovely (and expensive) cactus pad from the pet store. He enjoyed her bribe, then promptly returned to his tree log for an extended nap.
There was 20 cm of snow sitting outside on the balcony, so it seemed as good a day as any to introduce Herman to his spacious new home. Joining him were two geraniums plants that had to be brought in before they died from frost. Herman didn’t care about the geraniums or new rocks or fresh coco coil to wiggle his toes in. He just wanted to eat and go to sleep. As she looked out at the winter scene before her, the guardian thought that Herman probably had the right idea.
After all the discussion about building a new tortoise table, and how wonderful it would be, Herman was understandably confused when he found himself on a square piece of grey slate in big, empty box. He consoled himself by focusing on the greens in front of him. But, he needn’t have worried. The tortoise table wasn’t ready; the guardian just wanted a photo of the structure to show how it was built. She’d spent a great deal of time looking on the internet for ideas, and the photos of tortoise tables being built were, by far, the most helpful. Unfortunately, she’d forgotten to take photos of Herman’s table being built. So she did the next best thing she could think of, she took a photo of his empty table and wrote out the shopping list:
- 1 – Billy bookcase (d: 28cm, h: 106 cm, w: 80cm)*;
- 2 – Billy extension units (d: 28cm, h: 35 cm, w: 80cm)*, one joined to the bookcase and one to act at the loft;
- 1 – Fyndig countertop (a kick-ass find in As-Is)*, the water-proof base;
- plenty of water-proof silicone;
- some plastic wood filler, to fill bookcase shelf holes (super old – probably no longer sold);
- 1 – Optix clear acrylic sheet (30″ x 60″), cut down to provide water-proof walls along the sides;
- 28 – 1″ zinc corner braces, attached underneath to join countertop and ‘wood’ frame; and
- lots of different sized screws.
**IKEA (which is why the measurements are in metric).