Coping with the death of my sweet babygirl...

nkt2456

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Aug 21, 2020
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This is my first post, and I’m so sorry it’s a quite depressing subject. Actually, one of the only reasons I joined Tortoise Forum is because I needed advice and comfort.

My sweet, sassy sulcata tortoise, Koopa Troopa, died a few weeks ago from heat stroke. I was at work and my brother had put her outside and left her, in the scorching heat, and she died a few hours after he finally brought her in and gave her water.

I’ve lost dogs, cats, fishes, and everything in-between, but NOTHING, absolutely nothing, has devastated me more than losing my childhood tortoise. I wasn’t prepared for her death as I never thought I would live longer than her.

A little backstory: my uncle works at a fish store and people sometimes come in selling different animals unrelated to aquatic species: one being my loving little hatchling girl, Koopa. The first year of her life was SO difficult. We had never owned a tortoise before so my parents and I were nervous to raise her. We did everything to the T to make sure she grew up healthy and strong. She was the size of a 50 cent coin. We even had a few companion Anoles to help her socialize and find comfort in other animals.

She began to develop the most sassiest personality after year two, where she discovered if she scratched on the glass walls of her terrarium she’d annoy us enough to feed her earlier than we’d usually feed her. She would sun-bathe with the anoles sleeping on her back and she had not a care in the world. Her favorite snack was our hibiscus flowers from our backyard (where we buried her next to).

Flash forward to now I’d never thought I’d have to live without her. I was a little girl when I got her and now I’m graduated and onto bigger things. I always thought that when I married I would get to visit her and her own hatchlings (maybe) and she and her offspring would outlive all of us.

Now I’m just upset, angry, a mix of emotions. I’ve never felt so helpless and distraught. I wish I could’ve stayed home a few minutes longer to tell my brother not to put her outside in the heat, maybe soaked her longer in a water bath so she wasn’t dehydrated. Stayed with her throughout the night to make sure she was okay... But instead I went to bed, sound asleep thinking everything was going to be okay. She was dead by morning.

I miss hearing her sassy scratching on the walls when she was hungry, I miss her sleeping peacefully under logs and her eagerness to quit being bathed. I miss giving her watermelon scraps and taking videos of her crunching on strawberries.

I so desperately want to get another sulcata, but after the trauma of losing her I feel like I would only be betraying her by taking care of another one. My grief is so beyond words that all I can say now is I wish I could go back in time to save her. I feel like a failure. I tried so hard to keep her healthy and alive and all it took was one mishap and her 10+ years of being with us was gone in an instant.

I don’t know how to let go of the anger and resentment I feel with myself and with others. I don’t know if I’ll ever get over the visceral heartache of her death.

Rest in peace, my darling. I will miss you forever.

2B8208C1-7D4F-470C-BBEA-FB0026227E04.jpeg
 

KarenSoCal

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I am so very sorry to hear about Koopa. I can feel the anguish in your heart. Your writing about her is wonderful...I feel like I knew her, too! 💔

Take your time grieving. Some day, you might feel that pull to give a new one all that love you have. That's when the time will be right.

Most of us have lost a tortoise at some time. We do understand the awful hurt. Welcome to the forum! Hopefully we can offer some comfort to help with the raw pain of your loss.
 

Tom

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This is my first post, and I’m so sorry it’s a quite depressing subject. Actually, one of the only reasons I joined Tortoise Forum is because I needed advice and comfort.

My sweet, sassy sulcata tortoise, Koopa Troopa, died a few weeks ago from heat stroke. I was at work and my brother had put her outside and left her, in the scorching heat, and she died a few hours after he finally brought her in and gave her water.

I’ve lost dogs, cats, fishes, and everything in-between, but NOTHING, absolutely nothing, has devastated me more than losing my childhood tortoise. I wasn’t prepared for her death as I never thought I would live longer than her.

A little backstory: my uncle works at a fish store and people sometimes come in selling different animals unrelated to aquatic species: one being my loving little hatchling girl, Koopa. The first year of her life was SO difficult. We had never owned a tortoise before so my parents and I were nervous to raise her. We did everything to the T to make sure she grew up healthy and strong. She was the size of a 50 cent coin. We even had a few companion Anoles to help her socialize and find comfort in other animals.

She began to develop the most sassiest personality after year two, where she discovered if she scratched on the glass walls of her terrarium she’d annoy us enough to feed her earlier than we’d usually feed her. She would sun-bathe with the anoles sleeping on her back and she had not a care in the world. Her favorite snack was our hibiscus flowers from our backyard (where we buried her next to).

Flash forward to now I’d never thought I’d have to live without her. I was a little girl when I got her and now I’m graduated and onto bigger things. I always thought that when I married I would get to visit her and her own hatchlings (maybe) and she and her offspring would outlive all of us.

Now I’m just upset, angry, a mix of emotions. I’ve never felt so helpless and distraught. I wish I could’ve stayed home a few minutes longer to tell my brother not to put her outside in the heat, maybe soaked her longer in a water bath so she wasn’t dehydrated. Stayed with her throughout the night to make sure she was okay... But instead I went to bed, sound asleep thinking everything was going to be okay. She was dead by morning.

I miss hearing her sassy scratching on the walls when she was hungry, I miss her sleeping peacefully under logs and her eagerness to quit being bathed. I miss giving her watermelon scraps and taking videos of her crunching on strawberries.

I so desperately want to get another sulcata, but after the trauma of losing her I feel like I would only be betraying her by taking care of another one. My grief is so beyond words that all I can say now is I wish I could go back in time to save her. I feel like a failure. I tried so hard to keep her healthy and alive and all it took was one mishap and her 10+ years of being with us was gone in an instant.

I don’t know how to let go of the anger and resentment I feel with myself and with others. I don’t know if I’ll ever get over the visceral heartache of her death.

Rest in peace, my darling. I will miss you forever.
I'm sorry to hear of your loss. I find comfort in knowing for sure what went wrong.

Was there no shade?
What size was your tortoise? I ask because usually by 10 years old, they are living outside full time. You said your brother put the tortoise outside. Where did she live when not outside?
 

nkt2456

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Texas
I'm sorry to hear of your loss. I find comfort in knowing for sure what went wrong.

Was there no shade?
What size was your tortoise? I ask because usually by 10 years old, they are living outside full time. You said your brother put the tortoise outside. Where did she live when not outside?
There’s a lot of shade in our backyard, but we usually kept her indoors due to the insufferable Southern summer heat and let her out to graze and exercise.
 

Tom

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There’s a lot of shade in our backyard, but we usually kept her indoors due to the insufferable Southern summer heat and let her out to graze and exercise.
I suppose what I'm getting at is that the COD might not have been the heat. SubSaharan Africa gets a heck of a lot hotter then Texas... It was 115 here last week and its been 112-108 for the last week. They can tolerate heat pretty well. Two of my sulcatas stay above ground in this awful hot weather, and the rest have the sense to get underground.

Now, in your time of terrible sorrow, might not be the time for this, but if you want to explore this further, come back at a better time, and let's talk it over. I'm a weird person, and I don't always see things, like grief over a loss, like other people. I mean no offense is what I'm saying. I don't mean to pry at a bad time. My mind just can't rest when I read things that don't add up. This leads me to asking questions when I should probably just be quiet.
 

nkt2456

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Texas
I suppose what I'm getting at is that the COD might not have been the heat. SubSaharan Africa gets a heck of a lot hotter then Texas... It was 115 here last week and its been 112-108 for the last week. They can tolerate heat pretty well. Two of my sulcatas stay above ground in this awful hot weather, and the rest have the sense to get underground.

Now, in your time of terrible sorrow, might not be the time for this, but if you want to explore this further, come back at a better time, and let's talk it over. I'm a weird person, and I don't always see things, like grief over a loss, like other people. I mean no offense is what I'm saying. I don't mean to pry at a bad time. My mind just can't rest when I read things that don't add up. This leads me to asking questions when I should probably just be quiet.
Yeah I get what you mean. I’m not sure honestly what went wrong I just wish she was here alive and well. I hope that if I were to get another sulcata in the distant future I wouldn’t make the same mistakes with KT and hopefully it will live a lot longer.
 

Yvonne G

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You might find comfort in reading this thread:

 

maggie3fan

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Yeah I get what you mean. I’m not sure honestly what went wrong I just wish she was here alive and well. I hope that if I were to get another sulcata in the distant future I wouldn’t make the same mistakes with KT and hopefully it will live a lot longer.
My Sulcata was 17 yr and over 100 lbs. He got a bladder stone as big as a baseball. The whole manner of death was super traumatic for me, midnight runs in my Camaro with Bob comatose, dying in my arms, last breath on my cheek. Me and Bob covered in blood on my bathroom floor. Oh god there's more. He's been gone for 5 years now, and frankly, I cried reading your post and cried because of Bob. Your tortoises' death will remain with you. I feel your heartbreak, and please know that it's alright to mourn for your animal here, and we understand 100_3431.JPG
 

Carol S

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I am so sorry for your loss. It is so devastating to lose a pet. 😢 🐢
 

Ink

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I am so for the loss of your friend.
 

queen koopa

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This IS devastating. I feel you on the difference between losing other animals... Especially since you had her as a hatchling. I’ve already told my niece she has to have a house with a yard in 40 yrs for my Koopa

😔 tortoise are amazing, just flat out. They have survived so long on this planet. Heartbreaking and angering when a animal thats capable of living 100 + years dies...

Just a side note, my Koopa I got when she was 5 yrs old. She was kept in some sort of cage in an apartment then moved to another family, then to another where she lived in a garage for a while. I took her in April 2017 and she went straight outside. I live in Las Vegas, we have triple digits temperature the whole time with no real humidity from mid June to September.

VERY sad news. Sorry hun. 😔
 
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