That flippin' tortoise again

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tode

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Re: That flippin' tortoise again
« Reply #45 on: November 08, 2009, 10:25 »
Just a suggestion:

Gopher Tortoise Stew

Also known as the "Hoover chicken," the gopher tortoise was a staple in the diets of Minorcans, Florida natives, and Depression-era families. The exact composition of Gopher Tortoise Stew depended on what ingredients were available at the time, but this is a typical recipe. Today, the gopher tortoise is a protected species, but you can substitute alligator or pork.

Cut meat into 2-inch pieces and simmer in salted water until tender. In a large Dutch oven, fry some salt pork until crisp and the fat is rendered. Add meat and brown. Add a generous amount of chopped onion, some chopped bell pepper, minced garlic, diced tomatoes and simmer for 20 minutes.

Then add the water the meat was cooked in, some diced potatoes, a few bay leaves, salt and black pepper to taste, and a fresh datil pepper or a dash of datil pepper sauce. Simmer for 1 to 2 hours over low heat. If necessary, thicken stew with a little flour dissolved in water, or some mashed hard-boiled egg yolks. For those that could afford the luxury of dry sherry, a dash would be added just before serving.

Serve piping hot with rice and corn pone.


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Spana

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Re: That flippin' tortoise again
« Reply #46 on: November 08, 2009, 11:10 »
Tode, thats wicked :lol:

 Altho awake he may not always be warm enough to eat.  Dont worry too much, he has survived for 18years with the routine that you're giving him.  What you dont want is for him to get so cold that he goes into hibernation which is different from sluggish .  When in hibernation they still move about a little, their eyes are shut tight but if you pick them up you can just see a slight movement of the head or limbs.  Mine are asleep for up to 5months so need the empty gut.  They slow themselves down  and get ready for hibernation, they know what they're about.  I just have to get the timing right.
If you think about the way Plod is going on, he is getting ready for how he thinks his winter is going to be.  Some tortoises in the wild must go on just as he is, never cold enough for hibernation but cold enough to be asleep or sluggish, waiting for it to warm up a bit.  
As long as you keep an eye on him, dont let him get frosted and if he looks as if he will eat offer he something.  If the temperature in the conservatory falls below 5 make sure he is covered up.
Its not easy getting tortoise info even now, conflicting ideas everywhere and i can only go on what i've learned from watching my bunch. Many died in the first winter after capture, they suffered terrible cruelty through ignorance. But i've kept mine alive and well for over 30 years and your MIL has done the same for 18 so we must be doing something right :)

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Snap Dragon

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Re: That flippin' tortoise again
« Reply #47 on: November 08, 2009, 12:02 »

As long as you keep an eye on him, dont let him get frosted and if he looks as if he will eat offer he something.  If the temperature in the conservatory falls below 5 make sure he is covered up.

I was going to mention about the conservatory as well.... Temperatures in them can fluctuate wildly this time of year and mine gets really cold over night as I refuse to heat it 24/7!!! (I do my ironing in mine and although it's got under floor heating I still put an oil heater in there to boost the warmth :happy:)

Thanks for joining this thread Spana... it's years since I had a tortoise so it's nice to have some expert help here.  :)
« Last Edit: November 08, 2009, 12:04 by Snap Dragon »
Snappy 

No amount of time can erase the memory of a good cat, and no amount of masking tape can ever totally remove his fur from your couch.

I could give up chocolate but I'm not a quitter.

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AmandaH

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Re: That flippin' tortoise again
« Reply #48 on: November 08, 2009, 12:57 »
Ugh, tode, you've made me feel really ill.  Even if I didn't have Plod, I still can't bear the thought of try to eat a tortoise.  Trying to break into the shell?  And all that horrid wrinkly-old-man skin?  Makes me quite queasy.  You recipe skips right over the nasty bit to "cut meat into two inch pieces..."  :wacko: <- closest I could find to "sick"

Yes, temp does fluctuate in the conservatory wildly.  If it's sunny, it gets *very* hot as it gets the sun all day.  Then he is mooching about.  But, it's never frosty in there (it's a proper brick-built conservatory with double glazing) and he is in a (furry!) cat bed, inside a cat basket with his blanket (!) over it, off the floor, with a week's worth of newspapers to ferret about in - he can't get that cold, can he?  We do have one of those oil heaters in there but we never use it as we simply don't go in there when it's too chilly.  But I can put that on low to keep the chill off at nights if it would help?

And Spana - that's what I thought "Oh, he's survived 18 years with this routine, so MIL must have been doing something right".  Then I read on one of the tortoise sites that, actually, it can take years for a tortoise to succumb to a routine that's wrong for him and that, rather than surviving for 18 years, the way the website put it was that the tortoise is slowly dying over those years!  Can you imagine how bad I felt when I read that?  Even though I'd only been looking after him for about six weeks of those 18 years!

Here we go, this is one of the things I read that worried me:

"People think that a tortoise will acclimatise if they put it in their garden - nothing could be farther from the truth.  The tortoise may exist, miserably for many years but it will not thrive and, eventually, it will die prematurely from malnutrition.  It will never, ever acclimatise."

From slowcoach.org (good name!).

And the MIL is one of those women where it's her way or the highway.  If I tried to tell her she'd been doing it wrong, she'd talk my head off!

Anyway, big hugey thanks to Spana and everyone who has helped in the care of Plod.

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Spana

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Re: That flippin' tortoise again
« Reply #49 on: November 08, 2009, 15:45 »
I think there are always experts just waiting to tell us all where we are going wrong with what ever we do.
Ive been to zoos and seen tortoises struggling to pick up thinly sliced and chopped up food from the ground.  They had been fed by the experts.  In the wild they would be pulling against a plant anchored by its roots, not wasting energy trying to pick up a thin slice of cucumber.
I wonder how many experts have managed to keep a tortoise alive for 18 years.
You go with your gut filling, he'll be Ok :)

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AmandaH

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Re: That flippin' tortoise again
« Reply #50 on: November 08, 2009, 20:34 »
Thanks Spana!  When the experts can't even seem to agree, it's a nightmare to know what to do for the best...

Cheers all  :D



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