Meet Bowser

Who’s Bowser?

Mmmm, broccoli!

Mmmm, broccoli!

That’s Bowser!!

Bowser is the tortoise referred to in the tagline….It’s a little incorrect since there’s only ONE tortoise, but I’m always up for talking about/looking at other tortoises.

Bowser is a Russian land tortoise, which is a small, cute, hardy type of tortoise commonly kept as pets.  He is basically the easiest pet ever.  Unlike the local turtles, he doesn’t require a special tank or water to swim in or even a terribly varied diet.  He doesn’t even like water, since the fundamental difference between turtles and tortoises is water- and land-based lifestyles, respectively.  All he really needs is some dirt for digging, a covered place to hide and sleep, a nice warm heat lamp and some fresh leafies to munch on.  We get along very well, both being lazy little vegetarians.

So fresh and leafy! Nomnomnom...

So fresh and leafy! Nomnomnom...

He usually chows down on some nice fresh romaine, but sometimes he’ll get a special treat of mixed greens; he seems to enjoy frisee, especially.  This summer I had a bunch of romaine from my parents’ garden, and Bowser absolutely devoured every scrap of the fresh leaves every day – he’s a tortoise with discriminating taste!

Aah, a nice warm rock to relax on.

Aah, a nice warm rock to relax on.

It can be fun to experiment with what he’ll eat.  Obviously I stick to plants, but nothing too sugary since that isn’t good for him.  The only fruit he’s had is honeydew, since it’s got a high water content and isn’t too sweet.  He chomped it away to nothing within minutes, which is no small feat for a slowpoke like him!  He didn’t seem to dig on cucumbers (too much water, not enough flavor?) and will only sometimes eat carrots (too much effort?…they’ve got a lot of sugar so it’s just as well really) but he ADORES mung bean sprouts.  We always end up with extra when we buy a bag to put in teriyaki stir fry and Bowser will get a big pile of them on his little plastic lid-plate for breakfast.  The first time I gave some to him I ended up sitting on the floor next to his house, giggling non-stop for nearly half an hour as he accidentally bit into the rim of his lid over and over in his frenzy to consume the juicy sprouts.  Each time he bit the lid, it would flip upwards and dump sprouts onto his head.  He’d blink in confusion and keep biting determinedly, hitting the edge of the lid at last one time out of ten.  Unfortunately he didn’t repeat that mistake the following times he was given sprouts, or else there’d be a video.

It’s surprising how much entertainment I can get from such a little dude.  Bowser is friendly, never bites anything or anyone that’s not a tasty plant, and is an all-around adorable guy.  Whether he’s cuddling up to his comfy warm rock (just like it’s a pillow, it’s soooo precious, pictures will follow!) or just grumping around in his bucket, he makes me smile.  He made living alone for the past year so much less lonely!

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