We are co-habitating with our 27 yr old tortoise, Alexander.
My parents brought him up from Arizona with them this past summer. He hadn't been doing very well. He wasn't eating and was pretty skinny for this time of year. In October, we found an exotic veterinarian in Richmond to see him. Wait, he was a veterinarian who saw exotics. He was a pretty average guy but he does see horses, cows, sheep and pets....plus reptiles. At first I wasn't sure if we should trust him but I could see very quickly that he knew what he was talking about. We discovered that not only was he a moving target for the x-ray machine, but he had also swallowed ROCKS!
I recognize the size of the gravel from my parents yard where Alex was for one and a half years. Why would he eat rocks!? I have no idea. But it is making him sick.
So now we need to get him to .....
Yep, poop rocks!
Well, he hasn't finished pooping rocks, but at least we have gotten him to eat. The key is to provide him with enough sunlight to keep him awake. He wants to hibernate but I think we are convincing him to stay awake. The boys and I have been feeding him critical care food with a syringe. Believe me, it is tricky prying open a tortoise jaw and squirting food in his mouth. It takes all three of us to do it. We also put him in a warm tub of water. I didn't realize that reptiles absorbed water through their skin. I do now. So he gets a daily bath. Everyday, he comes upstairs to bask in the sunshine shining in the window in our kitchen. He really enjoys being with us. It is usually during the time that the kids are trying to make their lunch so he is always being pushed out of the way to get into the refrigerator. He is like a rock with legs.
No pun intended.
He could die from this. I know that God can move mountains, so I pray that he moves rocks daily.
We must be the only family saying our prayers asking our Heavenly Father to make Alex poop rocks.
I love this picture of him. He is so relaxed and content with his legs all sprawled out. He has been handled the most he has in years and welcomes neck rubs. When we first brought him inside he was making quite a bit of hissing noises when we touched his legs. He was easily startled. Now he is used to being placed in a tub of water half asleep. I think he might be on the mend soon. It is a very slow process and requires lots of patience.
He's worth it.