The escaping skills of my tortoises have increased and given me a serious problem. The curious thing is that no one can understand how they are managing to climb over their fence at the very top of my terraced back garden, negotiate a steep flight of steps, pass through a barrier of full water cans and heavy flower pots, cross a terrace and complete a further flight of steps to reach my back door. All without flipping over onto their backs – well almost always. Their designe fault means that if they do lie on their backs for too long it can squash their lungs and be fatal, although my tortoise Brian does not specify exactly how long this is. I shall soon be tempted to find out. (Joke, animal lovers!)
One afternoon I watched them for ages to see if I could see how they were escaping. It was probably a joint effort where one climbs onto the plastic netting (which I had to add to make the palisade higher) which then flattens, and the other two nip over him. This day they just played dumb and lay contentedly sunbathing until I got bored and went out shopping. The minute my back was turned they obviously woke up and put Escape Plan No. 26 into action. When I arrived home only two hours later Ernie was on his back on the first terrace, little scaly legs waving in the air, while Mr T and Brian were scratching at the back door.
“Ernie was on his back on the first terrace, little scaly legs waving in the air…”
So I have decided to rebuild their pen and buy palisades two feet high with extra supports. Unfortunately my handy man can’t come until next week end so I am forced to keep the three Houdinis on the cement yard at the back of my house. This means cleaning up after them twice a day. It is like having to muck out a small pony but the smell is much worse. Also it has attracted a plague of woodlice and a black carpet of them forms every morning and evening. It is hard keeping to the Buddhist principle of not harming any sentient beings but I sweep them all up carefully and deposit them at the top of the garden. Yes, I suspect they are walking straight back down again and collecting all their friends on the way.
If my handy man does not come soon a one-way trip to Raystede with all three tortoises is definitely on the cards.