At this time of year when I’m out in the garden there is quite a bit of it going on here and there. Not the kind of bonking you’re thinking about though. This is part of the  mating ritual of the tortoise. Lots of tortoises shelter for the winter amongst the bushes at the south end of the garden and they are keen to make some babies when they wake up in spring.

The male follows the trail of a female and when he catches up with her he gets up close and starts ramming her shell with his shell. It makes a dull “bonk” sound. It must be a very amorous thing for him to do and obviously it gets the female in the right mood too judging by the number of tortoises around here.  I can’t tell you how it develops into mating because I haven’t seen it, I’ll take a chair next time I hear them and sit and watch what happens.

I could say they breed like rabbits but I think they might be offended by that, however there are plenty of them and more coming every year. The first spring that I was in residence here I numbered them when I found them and put them outside the fence, I got fed up when I reached about number thirty five and gave up. They all came back anyway.

The gestation period, that is the period between mating and laying of eggs is between three weeks and three years apparently. Waiting for conditions to be conducive I suppose. Some of the females lay their eggs in my sand pile and between eight and twelve weeks later they hatch. I’ve only seen a couple of the newly hatched ones, mainly because they seem to hatch at night and scurry off into the undergrowth until their shells harden. The traces of their egress from the sand pile are pretty obvious though.

I’ve been doing a bit more to my drive lately, laying more flat stone on a concrete bed, should be strong enough for a truck to drive over it by the time I’m finished. As I sit here typing now my shoulder muscles are letting me know that I’ve done some work today. It’s a nice feeling to be tired because of doing some physical work. Today being Sunday I took it easy and only did a bit.

Posted April 4, 2010 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized

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