February 22, 2020 (02/22/2020!) was a cold and dreary day. By this, I mean that it was raining… and it was overcast… and the temps being in the 50’s made it cold by Phoenix standards. It is said that one can expect a desert tortoise to emerge from hibernation when nighttime temps hit the high 50’s four-five consecutive nights, and daytime temps hit the high 60’s four-five consecutive days, and there’s sunlight.
So OF COURSE we discovered Geronimo hunkered down in a puddle of cold water on that gray, dismal day, right in the middle of the yard. Because Geronimo is Geronimo.
My hibernating-reptile-Mommy heart melted in the cold. I was an empty-nester no more!
Geronimo abides by no rules of scaly thumb. He lives by the motto rules are made to be broken. He wasn’t about to wait for consecutive nights and days of certain temperatures, nor did he care to choose a sunshiny moment for basking, which is usually the first order of business for a tortoise coming out of hibernation.
He just loves the rain! Being the little barometer that he is, he woke up that day, I guess, and came out to hydrate himself. (Tortoises are very thirsty upon waking up from hibernation.) Like last year, he hit four months and said, I’m good. I’m OUT.
(Average hibernation period for desert tortoises: four-six months.)
Here I’ve got a slew of pics of Geronimo I’ve taken since then. Geronimo has been busy patrolling and surveying every corner of his domain.
Checking to see that his beloved hibiscus were in good shape:
Checking out the length of the east fence:
Checking out the south side of his burrow:
Heading back into his burrow after a long day of surveying:
Checking out the space between the fence and some aloe and ice plants:
Checking out the space between the fence and some ruella:
Checking out alternate paths to the spaces between the fence and the plants:
Heading toward the south fence:
Checking out the gravel path heading toward the south fence:
Checking out the ice plants along the west side of his burrow:
Taking one of a million breaks for mommy cuddles:
Exiting his beloved laundry room after checking it out thoroughly:
Checking out the west side of his domain:
Checking out every square inch of gravel on the west side:
Checking out the path from the patio to his burrow:
Basking in the grass:
Chomping through new growth of spring grasses and weeds:
Eating and eating:
Going in for some hibiscus treats:
[Me plucking a young hibiscus bud]:
[Presenting him with the bud]:
Loving being hand-fed:
Off and running after another mommy-cuddle break:
Surveying his domain from the entrance of his burrow:
Checking out the border around the lawn:
Crossing from the grass to the back of his burrow:
Taking another break for mommy cuddles:
(This pic is weird. It looks like I’m wearing bronzer or blush or contour or something on the side of my face, and I’m totally not. I don’t understand how shadows and lighting work.)
Being fed Romaine lettuce by his daddy:
Still eating lettuce:
Basking in the late-afternoon sun in front of his burrow, even as the sun moved:
Soaking, bathing, and hydrating (the next time I saw him after his emergence):
All is clear in the laundry room today.
The End. Or, “Good-bye,” as Geronimo would say.