Tortoies duo not taken care of at my school Final update


Jun 22, 2021
Location (City and/or State)
I didn't realize it had been almost 5 months since I last brang this up on here.
Turbo and Squirt are no longer at the school.
Let me summarize for people who haven't seen the old thread: Two tortoises at my school were being kept outside together in a small tortoise table full of sand, with a burrow, a plant saucer, and an incredibly dirty platform that was covered in dried rotted food that was thrown in there and not eaten. There were incredibly tiny, as small as babies despite being a few months old desert tortoises already. They were usually only fed lunch veggies and given water by passing students, and had no specific caretaker. Through winter until the beginning of March, they did not come out of their burrow (brumation) which made sense after I found out, except for that it seemed they had barely eaten at all in the times long before that, so it worried me a bit. I had found out they came out on their own for the first time after I emailed the teacher in charge of the key to their table. The only times I could really check on them were in the morning (8-8:30), passing periods, and lunch (hottest time of the school day 12-12:30). Even though they came out on that day, as the teacher said, I did not see them come out at all after that. I feel they should have at least came out at lunch, as even in February it got to the 70s and sometimes 80s, in March even higher. Their brumation had been long enough from what I had read, so I found the "gate-keeper" teacher and I was allowed into their pen. I scraped off the gunk from their platform, and made sure they could get into their water bowl. Some friends started to help me as well. Then, I reached inside the burrow and pulled the two little ones out. I know it may have been a little risky, but I tried to keep them in the shade until they had opened their eyes. The smaller one got kicking much faster than the other. In the following next days I had taken them out the same as before, then I started to soak them, as the faucet in the nearby classroom had hot and cold water. I chopped up mixes of cucumber, lettuce, dandelion, collard, mustard greens, and later on some prickly pear cactus, even fruits, just anything I had for my tortoises that they might try and eat. The first 2 days were generally unsuccessful, and all they did was maybe take a little bite, wander then try to go straight back into the burrow. I did get them to eat more though, as they got used to being taken out. I started to stay after school for 10 min or so too (3:40-3:50). A kind of long trek across the school, and back. So they started to eat twice, when I could get them to. I had found that the platform was tall, and they had trouble getting on top of it, so I placed a folded napkin with food in front of their burrow and the little one ate from there. I can't say I did it all perfectly, as I waited so long to do SOMETHING about them even after I had noticed them, and I was still iffy on doing things until later. The teacher, Mr. C, was not a bad person. He simply cared greatly for his students, and not so much about the tortoises. He lent me the key whenever. I met a 6th grader that said she also took care of them. Spring break was in the coming week, and I wanted to take the tortoises home, as there didn't seem to be anyone else willing. By this time I had found who their 'Owner' was, Mrs. M, we'll call her. From what I had seen, she never came by to feed them, check on them, or give them water. Perhaps she thought the special's ed classroom (Mr.C's classroom behind the tortoise table) was taking on that job. I first sent Mrs. M an email asking her if I could be their caretaker for spring break (Starting March 28) , and she responded saying that she was retiring, and would be taking them home with her at the start of the break. At this time I knew barely anything about her except for that she was supposed to be the main person in charge of the tortoises. I decided I would visit her office, for answers and maybe some peace of mind that they weren't in the worst of hands. First time, I guess I made a pretty bad first impression because it ended with her promptly telling me to "Get out.". I had asked her many questions, and she had told me that she had finally prepared a habitat for them, owned many tortoises at home- including another desert tortoise, and that the two little ones were both born in her backyard. When she said "A little bit of lettuce is all they need" I may have put my opposition pretty strongly. I was already upset at her because I found her the reason they were left with such bad care all these months. In any case, I went back and found her, apologized for coming on strongly, and she told me that she was not technically their 'Owner'. She takes care of them in accordance and for, the Arizona Wild Fish and Game department, of which we have a station here, and she says she was preparing their new habitat and food as similar to wild tortoises as possible. I was promised pictures. They were gone the Thursday of that week, and the pictures were sent two weeks later. I didn't get any of them, but I did get pictures of her setup. Many potted plants, a grassy area, and hideaways for the tortoises. A seperate table seemed to be for the duo, messy but large and full of thick grass and dirt, instead of sand. The open area was small for 4 tortoises, which she said lived there, but it wasn't bad. I had taken care of them for around 3 weeks. I may have been over my head, but I can't say that I regret it either. Mrs. M. still as teacher at the school until she retires in the next 2 last weeks of school. I'll probably pester her again for pictures of the actual tortoise duo. When I get them, I'll post them here.
I'm sorry this was so long.
Thanks to TF for sending me an email reminding me to check the forum again.


Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Tortoise Club
Sep 6, 2011
Location (City and/or State)
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Sorry she got nasty with you and kicked you out. I'm sure it's because you, student, was telling old person all the things she was doing wrong and instead of acknowledging your knowledge, she was acting out for the lack of her her knowledge.
Hopefully that woke her up and she does right by them.
So glad you took notice and stood up persistently for them.
You should be very proud of yourself. I know I am very proud of you. Many just turn the other way.
Thank you for sticking with it and for updating us.

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Jan 23, 2008
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
You did a good thing! Try to maintain that caring attitude throughout life! I'm proud to know you.


Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Jun 21, 2016
Location (City and/or State)
Thank you for doing all you could for them!!! It feels good to know there are kids like you out there! But maybe not enough...! As for the adults - they could learn a thing or two if they would listen more.