Tortoise Feeding and Soaking Days

Each spring the Red Rock Stars emerge from brumation (like hibernation for reptiles) on different days, depending on how warm the weather has been. This year Hugo was the first to come out, on March 1!

Hugo sleepily basking to warm himself.

A couple weeks after emergence, Friends of Red Rock Canyon volunteers begin feeding the tortoises each Wednesday and Saturday at 8 a.m. When the weather is cooler the torts’ metabolisms are slower, so they don’t eat as much or as quickly as when the weather is hot. Because of this, in the spring and fall they might slowly eat their breakfasts over the course of a couple hours. During the summer, however, they are often waiting for volunteers right at 8, and gobble up their food quickly!

Betty knows how to enjoy herself!

As with feeding, soaking days – or “spa days” as we call them – begin a couple weeks after emergence from brumation. On Mondays volunteers soak the torts for about 20 minutes in a couple inches of water. Soaking helps to keep the torts hydrated, and to clean their shells so volunteers can more easily identify them. The soaking schedule alternates so that Hugo gets soaked one Monday, then Max and the girls get soaked the following Monday.

Two of the girls getting squeaky-clean.

If you want to see the Rock Stars in action, make sure to visit them on these mornings from mid-May to late September. You can check our calendar for specific dates: https://friendsredrock.org/current-events/