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Say Hello to Ernie!

Sat in my office I’ve got my wire haired dachshund Pip sat at my feet looking out the window wondering when the rain might stop, he’s never been a fan of the rain and I usually have to stand over him with an umbrella or else he refuses to go out in the rainy weather, although I can’t really blame him, I’ve got the fire on in the log cabin so it’s very cosy.

I’m also sat watching Ernie explore around his tortoise Table. Ernie is the new arrival here at Swinton Green, she is a Marginated tortoise and needed a home so has come along to me and joined the growing family of animal friends here.

Ernie is a different species of tortoise to Arthur, if you’ve followed for a while you will have met him already on an earlier post. Ernie is a lot smaller and doesn’t eat grass like Arthur, Ernie is primary native to southern parts of Greece and Italy, with a few isolated populations on islands in those areas. Ernie has a gorgeous shell and adult Marginated tortoises are most recognised easily by the intense flaring of the rear of the shells which is often described as a skirt, this is so they can climb and camouflage in rocky areas.

Like most tortoises Ernie requires special care and heat in captivity to make sure she stays happy and healthy, generally Marginated tortoises are kept in captivity and Ernie has a lovely large tortoise table in my office with lots of enrichment things inside her pen such as rocks to climb on, brushes to brush her shell against after a nice warm bath, food bowls, balls for hay so she can roll around as she feeds and slate which helps her keep her beak filed down.

For next year we will also be building Ernie a lovely area outdoors so she can enjoy the natural sunlight and explore the outdoors. Her diet many consists of leafy greens such as dandelion leafs, lettuce, carrots, spring greens, watercress and many other greens which are safe for Ernie to eat!

Ernie also has special hay cubes and a supplement hard feed which is for tortoises, I also sprinkle tortoise calcium on Ernie’s feed which helps with shell health and growth, this is only required around 3 times a week. I keep a special log online with all my animal health and care sheets!

Ernie has already been meeting visitors here at Swinton Green and getting involved with therapy intervention programmes, she’s enjoying all the attention and a very friendly tortoise.

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