Thursday, May 11, 2006

Gromit, Oh Gromit!

People ask us, where is your tortoise? When she is hibernating they wonder, what does she look like? Here she is. Isn't she a beauty? Such intelligence in those eyes.

Other questions people ask...

Q. Is she housebroken.
A. Yes.

Q. How does she get into the house?
A. Through the cat door. When she was younger, Chuck had to build a ramp so she could get over the sill of the cat door. Now she can navigate on her own.

Q. How big is she?
A. 3" tall, 4" wide and 5.5" long.

Q. How does she grow?
A. See those "plates"? They grow like tree rings.

Q. How old is she?
A. 10 years old. We got her after her predecessor, Cardinal Ralph de Bricassart died. He was over 30 years old and was over 20" long, big enough to slide open the doors and to shake our bed hard enough to make us think we were experiencing an earthquake. He was actually quite gentle and would nuzzle your bare toe, because it looked just like "mother" to him. Tortoises' respiratory systems are quite delicate and he succumbed to pneumonia. We actually acquired him when we bought our house. We had no idea we owned him until one day in the spring, he crawled out from under the deck. He was a Califonria desert tortoise, and it is now illegal to own one because they are on the endangered species list.

Q. Doesn't Gromit escape?
A. No, we have an enclosed yard. She can see the wonders of the greater world only if one of us carelesly leaves the front door open.

Q. Where does she hibernate in winter?
A. Next to the bathtub because the porcelain is cool.

Q. Where did she come from?
A. The Russian steppes.

Q. Who is she named after?
A. The cute animated dog in the Wallace and Gromit series.

Q. Is she a vegetarian?
A. Yes, because it's difficult for her to catch something that runs faster than she does.

Q. Does she make any noise?
A. Yes. She hisses like the air being let out of a tire when she's aggravated.

Q. Where does she hang out?
A. At the front door in the morning so she can warm up in the sun, crashing through the garden in the afternoon, and under the deck at night.

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