They are missing

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lovelyrosepetal

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I know it is possible for them to show up but I can't find them anywhere. I find it hard to believe that they just disappeared and I can't find them. I let out my daughters' and my sons' to see where they would go and they just stuck around eating clover and grass. They did not seem to want to go anywhere but where the food was. I keep praying and I am hoping the Lord will answer my prayers so that I find them but my hope is small and I feel like I killed them.
 

wellington

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You did not kill them. You had no idea this would happen. Your not the first and you won't be the last. I know it's hard, but don't blame yourself. Had you known, you would have done things differently, but you didn't know. Keep the hope going that they will be found or returned, what ever the case may be, we all are:)
 

Holycow

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A few years back I had a 10" sulcata disappear from the large back yard of my old house, I searched EVERYWHERE and concluded that it was stolen because there was no way it could have escaped. I was sick over it and searched the hedges and corners of the yard again and again. 4 Months later I'm mowing the back yard near a concrete slab and outdoor fireplace- the mower bumps something right along the back edge of the slab under the fireplace, I look closer and I immediately recognize the upper part of the missing torts shell barely exposed under the sod. I assume the animal is dead because of the cold weather (upper 30's-40's we'd had at night since the disappearance) I start to dig around the edge and the animal kicks! So there he is alive and well totally buried in the sod with only an inch or so of shell at ground level, and this area obscured by thick grass thatch. Anyway- no resp infection, no ill effects at all from the event- I could not believe it. I still have the animal today. So in short DON"T GIVE UP!
Good luck.
--Jeff
 

lovelyrosepetal

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Thanks. I appreciate the kind wishes. I hope they come back, it is just really discouraging because I have looked all over, in total over 12 hours of searching. It just seems like they should have showed up already. I also had a friend come over to help look and he looked for two hours with no luck. I hope I have a happy story and that they will be okay but they are so little and it is going to get cold. I will keep looking. Thanks.
 

Baoh

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Is that pen's bottom edge buried into the ground? Are there are any gaps? When you turn them onto their sides (ninety degrees from when they are sitting flat on the ground, can they be slid, even if might take a small amount of force, through any of the spaces between the bars? Small tortoises will go through bars that way. I have watched it many times to find escape routes for babies. They can pretty easily push themselves through crevices and gaps that might seem a little too slim for them.
 
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Maggie Cummings

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Hunt for them on your hands and knees. I that way you are looking from a tortoises' angle and believe me, it does look different. Look under the bushes to see if they dug into the dirt. The soil will be kinda fluffy if the did. Good luck
 

sibi

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Don't despair; you'll find them. If you have to take that enclosure apart and dig two feet under, you'll find them. Have your kids help with the digging. It would help if we saw what kind of enclosure you had them in. Then, it may be possible to tell you where you can look. Btw, if there any other structure near the enclosure? I would check there also. Please don't blame yourself...it happens even to the best caregivers. I hope by the time you read this message, you will have found at least one of them if not both! Also, pray to the Almighty Creator of these beautiful babies to help you find them!
 

Tom

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That grass is so thick. A dozen of them could hide in there and you'd never find them. Start pulling the grass out one handful at a time, or use scissors and cut it down to the ground. Then once you have bare dirt, I bet you will find them still in their pen, maybe slightly buried and no worse for the wear.
 

lovelyrosepetal

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Thanks. I will take your advice and cut the grass down by some scissors. I was wishing I could cut it so I could look more easily for them, but I did not want to hurt them. The scissors is a great idea. I have tried pulling it out by hand so I might just do a combination thing. You are right, Tom, the grass is thick and it is hard to see them. I put the other two out and it was difficult to see the one who went into the grass. I told the kids it was time to mow the lawn if we find the babies. I was wondering how I would know if they had burrowed into the ground so I will keep looking for fluffy dirt. I will keep praying and I am hoping that the good Lord will hear my prayers and pleas for their safe return. Baoh, the pen is not buried into the ground, I have watched them for so many weeks and months with them never trying to dig out. That is another reason I feel so guilty, I knew they could dig out and I left them there for a little over an hour without supervision feeling secure that they would not try to dig out just because I never saw them try to do it. It is a hard lesson learned but I have learned it. I will never leave them unsupervised again. Thanks to all of you for your warm wishes and kind words. I won't give up and I appreciate being able to come here where everyone has such good advice and kind wishes.
 

Terry Allan Hall

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Tortoises find the color red irresistible, so put some slices of red bell pepper out in the pen, in an easy to see location...if they're still in there, there'll be bites taken out of the slices' edge.
 

Carol S

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I hope you find your two babies. If they had dug out you would see the evidence of their digging at the fence line. Torts are experts at hiding. Sometimes I will be looking right at mine and will not see them right off; they seem to blend in with their surroundings. I will send good vibes your way.
 

Tom

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Just for future reference, and for any else one reading, it is generally best to use some sort of visual barrier when building outdoor pens for tortoises. I just put slumpstone blocks down and I've never had any tortoise of any size or species dig out. I've also used landscaping timbers, railroad ties, plywood and 2x4s, 2x12's, regular bricks, and a few other things. Right now I'm using this:
jf8av5.jpg


Its just an old cabinet that we are replacing. I'm using this temporarily while the greens in their regular 4x8's have a chance to regrow a bit. So far no attempts to dig out. If a tortoise can see out, they will often try to dig or push out.

LRP, If they cannot push through those bars, I think they are either still in there, buried under the thick grass clumps, or someone or something removed them. It is okay to leave them outside unattended as long as you have a relatively secure pen. Here is an example of what I mean:
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/thread-30683.html#axzz2BCYrL9Dv

They don't dig out, and predators can get in since they are covered. When these were heavily planted I "lost" them frequently. They are just so good at hiding in heavy vegetation. Knock that greenery down to bare dirt and I'll bet you find them.
 

lovelyrosepetal

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Tom, They cannot push through the bars. The many times I have watched them, they never attempted to dig out. They never seemed inclined to even claw at the dirt. They did try to push themselves through the bars but the bars were too close together. I like your pen. I am changing mine out to something similar. I never thought that they would get out. I have done what you suggested and have cut the grass down to the dirt with scissors. I spent four hours cutting grass. I did not see any dirt that was soft or fluffy. It all looked the same. As a side note, while I was out there cutting there were many crows in the trees cawing. I wonder if they swooped down and took off with my tortoises. I found it strange that there were only two in there. I will be spending all day tomorrow cutting more grass and continuing the search. If I don't find them I think I am giving up. I don't know how much longer I can stand looking for something that never appears. If I knew I would find them I could search for weeks but not knowing if I will ever see them again makes me think that there has to come a point where I have done all I can do and need to leave the rest to the Lord. I still have two tortoises that need attention and seven children need their mom, not a nut who keeps crying and looking for tortoises that are not going to be found. How long would you all suggest looking? I have been looking all day with breaks to feed and care for kids. I have barely done anything else. I feel horrible but I don't know what else to do. I have taken everyone's suggestions and have implemented them. I know that they could still be there but I don't know where else to look. After I have cut down all the grass, I don't know of anything else I can do. I also called all the pet stores in my area to see if anyone turned in two baby sulcatas. No one has. I keep searching craigslist and nothing has shown up. I don't know if someone or something took them. I do know that if they ever show up, I am never leaving them alone where there is a possibility of escape. I did not have a cover over them and my husband thinks a crow or hawk came by and had a tasty snack. If anyone has any ideas about what more I should do, please let me know. I am looking for any and all suggestions. Thank you. Oh, and remember to vote, it is really important to let your voice be heard.
 

shellysmom

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Wow, bless your heart, if you have 7 kids, you definitely don't have the luxury of time to keep crawling around your yard cutting grass with scissors. :( The signs around the neighborhood are a great idea, because IF a crow grabbed your torts, it's possible that they dropped it in a neighbor's yard after discovering it might be a little difficult to eat... Keep an eye out, but don't drive yourself nuts looking.
 

CourtneyAndCarl

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I'm so sorry, my heart is breaking for you just reading your story because I can only imagine how I would feel if I was in your shoes.
 

mattgrizzlybear

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So so so sorry. You sound like you are under a lot of stress. My eyes are watering reading this. I hope you find your little guy. God bless you!
 

lynnedit

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You have done everything you can. If this hasn't happened to the rest of us, many of us have come close.
Other than monitoring the Humane Society, CL, making sure vet's offices have your #, neighbors know your situation, you have to be done now.
You will run yourself ragged. Try to focus on what you have, and your kids.
You have our support and good wishes!
 

wellington

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I totally agree with lynnedit. You have done all you can. Take a step back and relax and tend to the rest of your family and go on as normal. Sometimes looking desperately, you miss things anyway. When ever your out there, just take a calm look over the yard, no digging or crawling, just a look. If they are going to be found, they will be. No that you are a good tort owner, you love them and you have done everything to find them. Enjoy the ones you have. Don't give up hope, but give up the search.
BTW, I voted:)
 

jackrat

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I recently had 5 adult redfoots escape. I now have a latch on the bottom of the gate,as well as the top. Four were found in the next two days,within 200 yard of their enclosure. My male,Quagmire, remained missing. I offered a reward and the kids never gave up looking for him. After five weeks,a half mile from the house,he was found. So don't give up. Keep looking,enlist some children's help with a reward.
 

dmmj

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Wait you have seven kids? I would get them all out there on thier hands and knees looking for them personally. I saw pics of your enclosure, and I have a question was the cage (looks like a dog kennel cage to me) secured to the ground or was it portable?
 
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