Thursday, June 23, 2011

Little One

This morning Cole ran out to the pine trees and starting sniffing at something that made him retreat (which Cole doesn't really do, not even with snakes.) I went over to investigate and found this little one tangled and upside-down in the pine needles:

Little one is a gopher tortoise hatchling. I have two adults living on my property, so she could be the offspring of either one. These tortoises are endangered, too, so it's important to do what we can to protect the few that are left.

I detangled the little one, put her in this basket and brought her onto the porch to have a look. It's best not to handle wildlife if you can avoid it, so I just inspected by observation.

Little one seemed fine; as soon as she felt safe she tried to climb out of the basket. Btw, the sex of a baby gopher tortoise is determined by the temperature of the soil in their burrow while they're incubating -- warmer temps produce females, cooler temps produce males. Since we've had some very high temps and not much rain lately, I'm going with girl.

I released her in the grass about a foot from the bed of needles where she got tangled up. She trundled off, no worse for the experience.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Wishing You

A bit of backstory: My mom actually took this picture of Dad last month when they were visiting my nephew, who has a new chihuahua puppy. The pup is extremely skittish and doesn't let strangers touch him -- all except Dad. Every time Dad took a nap, Mom told me, the little one would climb up and cuddle on his shoulder.

Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there.