Happy Ending for Tortoise

It’s always nice to have a happy ending to a story, and here is ours. The sulcata tortoise who appeared in a ditch at the Preserve this week has officially been named Radar because of the pink flag we put on her back so she won’t get lost again. Although Buddy Freckles did not like her walking around his kitchen at first, they have become tolerant of each other.

Mike and Radar

Our calls to the Kentucky Herpetological Society were answered by one Mike Connor, an officer of the  Society who rescues snakes and turtles. He is our hero, since he does this out of the kindness of his heart. He already has three sulcata tortoises, so Radar will be joining a family.

Alfred, Althea, Radar and Tulip

In fact, Radar not only found a new home and new family, she learned to speak English and type to send emails, all in one day!  Here is the message we received from her:

Hi everyone, thanks for all your help finding me a new home. I just got unpacked and met my new family. Dad, Alfred is little ruff around the edges and thinks I need some sun to put some color in my shell but I think we’ll be getting along. Mom, Althea is cool! Not much on conversation but she knows the best grasses to munch on and I have a little sister named Tulip. It’s going to be fun being a big sister.

Terrapin Station

We live in a place called Terrapin Station. I don’t know what a terrapin is. It must be like a tortoise. Mom said it’s named after some Thankful Dead people’s song. There is also this big green and white thing I was told it’s a pond for people. People are weird. Anyway got to go, supper is growing. I’m sending some pictures.

The family portrait gives you a good idea of the size these animals can get, but I bet they’ll grow even larger before they are through. Radar does look a little pale compared to the others, but with good care and sunshine, she’ll do well.


Radar asks a good question though.  What is the difference between  turtle, terrapin and tortoise?  According to PetEducation.com, if it has a shell and is a reptile, then it is going to fall into the order Chelonia, which includes 244 different species. For most Americans, the term ‘turtle’ describes the Chelonians that are aquatic or semi-aquatic. The term ‘tortoise’ describes a Chelonian that lives primarily on land. ‘Terrapin’ can describe some freshwater or saltwater turtles, but is a term not often used. In general, tortoises live on land and eat a primarily vegetarian diet, and turtles live in or near the water and eat a meat-based diet or a combination of meat and vegetation. Scientists believe that turtles first appeared during the Triassic era, making them as old as the dinosaurs!

Best wishes to Radar in her new home!

Naturally yours,