EXTREME TORTOISE: SETI AT DIVING PRACTICE

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SETI APPROACHES THE PLATFORM

This series of photos was captured one recent Sunday morning. The habitat these tortoises occupy has multiple levels. This particular tortoise, a four year-old male named Seti, has discovered that he enjoys using this low rock as a sliding platform. Over the course of the morning, Seti made a series of dives to the substrate below from this low rock. One of the five year-old males, Kofi, who is a climber by nature, has also discovered that he enjoys this particular recreation.

This is not about the sort of perimeter pacing we so often see in tortoises. This particular pair of tortoises simply makes their slide, pause for a drink or a nibble, then circle back for their next dive. Go figure!

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SETI POSITIONS HIMSELF FOR THE DIVE

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SETI PUSHES UP AND OFF WITH HIS TOES

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SETI IS ALL CONCENTRATION AS HE DROPS

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HOPING TO IMPRESS THE JUDGES, SETI MAKES A FORM CORRECTION IN MID-DIVE

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SETI EXECUTES A PERFECT THREE-POINT LANDING

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COMPOSING HIMSELF, SETI PREPARES TO LEAVE THE DIVING AREA

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SETI BEGINS THE JOURNEY TO THE PLATFORM FOR HIS NEXT DIVE

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KOFI, SETI'S DIVING PARTNER, SCALES THE PLATFORM FROM BELOW

The Egyptian Tortoise: its natural history, its captive care, its beauty, its lore. . .
Animal behaviors: little things they do
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FOUR KLEINMANNI HATCHLINGS ARE WARMED BY HAND
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Photo by Lisa Weiss

Animals are just cute. Period. And to those of us who care for them, even turtles and tortoises have a charm factor that cannot be denied. There are little behaviors that seem oh, so human, that teach us as much about ourselves and our senses of humor as about our animals...

In addition to the herpetological science and natural history that the kleinmanni teach me, every day they teach me new things about their own animal behavior, their capacity to learn, and my capacity to be amused. On this page I share with you some of their more amusing stunts as well as their more typical behaviors, those that teach me day-by-day how they live as a species and what they need from me to survive.

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THE STRANGE BONDS FORGED BY LIFE TOGETHER

ONE TORT TRIES TO DIG A SCRAPE UNDER ANOTHER
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These animals who have been thrown together entirely by circumstances seem to display an extraordinary degree of familiarity with one another. Like most creatures, including many humans I know, food rings a Pavlovian bell for them and they all come running to the feeding tile when the keeper appears with the daily rations. But at the end of the day as well, when the basking light goes off and all goes quiet, it is not at all uncommon to find that all have trundled off to a single hide pot, piling into it like clowns into a Volkswagen. What draws these unrelated animals into this physical proximity? It would be anthropomorphism most extreme to suggest communal bonds of some sort that we do not understand. . . And yet. . .

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UNDER-TORTOISE SCRAPE DIGGING CONTINUES...

HATCHLINGS LEARN TO BUILD A GROUP SCRAPE
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OR, IS IT FOUR VOLKSWAGENS IN A PILE-UP?

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FROM ANOTHER ANGLE, ONE CAN SEE HOW EACH ONE DIGS UNDER THE NEXT



HATCHLING ANTICS AND FOOLISHNESS

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DEMONSTRATION OF THE "OVER, NOT AROUND" RULE

What can I say? They're hatchlings! Like all small, sentient beings, they are learning their muscles, finding out about boundaries, discovering the tastes of things, and generally exploring the world they have found themselves in. Genetics and instinct have given them a remarkable set of gifts for these explorations.

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RUNTS FROM TWO CLUTCHES COMPARE FOR SIZE

ALL THIS CALIFORNIA KID NEEDS IS SUNGLASSES
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ENOUGH TO GO AROUND, NEVER ENOUGH TO SHARE

ONE MONTH OLDS EXPLORE THE WATER
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THE HATCHLING KLEINMANNI NEEDS HIS FRIEND, THE CUTTLEBONE

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Click on the arrow above to return to "KLEINMANNI: The Next Generation," a page where you can learn more about Kleinmanni hatchlings and hatchling care. . .



CLIMBING FOR EXERCISE AND SPORT

KOFI SCALES A HIDE POT
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One of the commonplaces about the Egyptian Tortoise is that they do not make very good climbers. Those that I keep seem to give the lie this perception. They seem not only to enjoy it, but to thrive on it. Whether it is a piece of the habitat furnishing, a rock or other barrier in the yard, or simply another of their own, the rule of tortoise seems to be, "Over, and not around."

PERSISTENCE HOPES TO WIN THE DAY
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3-YEAR-OLD TUYA CLIMBS TO HIDE
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KOFI AGAIN
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"AIN'T NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH TO KEEP ME FROM YOU"



PERSONALITY BY THE BUCKETFUL

SETI, SLEEPY TORTOISE
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People often ask tortoise keepers if their animals have personalities. The unequivocal answer is yes! It is in some ways most visable in the great tortoises like those of the Galapagos Islands. The little Egyptian Tortoise is sometimes compared to the giant tortoises in terms of their personalities and capacity for interaction. Among the many tortoise species I have kept, the kleinmanni have by far and away the greatest depth and range of personality. Or, perhaps just the most outgoing and most easily anthropomorphized. At the same time, it is important to remember that interaction with humans is very nearly always stressful for tortoises, and this is a species that is easily stressed.

SETI THE MAD
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NOT ACTUALLY THIRSTY HIMSELF. . .
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KOFI JUST BASKS AND WATCHES OVER THE WATERING HOLE

EVEN WHEN MEETING THE PRESIDENT. . .
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THE HATCHLINGS REMAIN COOL, CALM, AND COLLECTED.

SOMETIMES WHEN IT GETS CRAZY. . .
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THE ONLY THING TO DO IS HIDE IN MY SHELL.

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"You can't trample infidelswhen you're a tortoise.I mean, all you could do isgive them a meaningful look."

-- Terry Pratchett, "Small Gods"

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All information and photos used in these pages is protected by copyright. Photos not taken by myself are credited; texts are fully noted and references included on the final page.  Use other than personal of the information or photos presented here requires my express written consent and / or that of the original author or photographer of the materials, and can be initiated by contacting me through this link. Any such use without such express written consents will be subject to legal action.

The Egyptian Tortoise: its natural history, its captive care, its beauty, its lore. . .
Fred L. Erwin, Jr., 2004 - 2005 C.E.