26 January 2017

The Surprising Tortoise

Our wedding day was full of happy moments, beautiful presents and lovely surprises. The biggest one of them was my kidnapping. It is a tradition in Slovakia that the bride gets "kidnapped" during the wedding - by the best man or someone from the family - into a nearby pub and the groom has to go and find her. I have agreed with my friend that she can take me for a glass of wine - simply for the kick of being in a pub wearing a wedding dress - when else do you get a chance to do that, eh? :)

So when my friend has taken me by the arm and starting pulling me away from the village hall, I went with her. But when we passed one pub, another pub and went down the hill where there were no more pubs, I got a bit confused. Instead of for a drink, she took me to a pet shop and there at the cash desk the guy handed me an envelope with a card inside that started "To my wife..." My husband has gotten us a baby Hermann's tortoise!

In spite of what it sounds like, this was not an impulse buy. We have been talking about getting a pet for ages and ever time we went to a pet shop, we spent ages watching the tortoises (although they are quite a rare animal to see in a pet shop around here). He had the whole thing arranged months in advance, researched the housing and built our very own tortoise table, bought the heat lamp and UV light which he hid from me in his workshop and bought the tortoise as well but he paid her a boarding fee in the shop so that she could stay there until our honeymoon was over.

We brought her home and named her Rocket (because of her speediness, although the first thing she ate at our place was a rocket leaf which just made me think that the name is right for her in more than one way). Every night she digs herself into the substrate in her little house and she sleeps there, moving her little legs up and down as she breathes. In the mornings she looks around confusedly for a while and if I wait long enough, sometimes she presents me with a massive yawn before she shuffles herself under the heat lamp to warm up so that she is ready for breakfast.

She is a very eager climber. I still find that a bit weird, but very cute and amusing. She puts so much effort into it and I sometimes put a bit of food on the house as enrichment activit to prevent her from getting bored (She also has a ping pong ball and a toilet paper roll that she pushes around).

It is funny how something so small can bring so man changes into life. Ever day we decide who "does the tortoise breakfast" depending on who needs to have a lie in. On weekends when we naturally wake up a bit later, I often find myself feeling guilty tthat I am letting her wait and it gets me out of bed.

She has also completely redefined the way I see plants. Tortoises can eat so many common weeds - Rocket loves ribwort plantain and dandelions - that I look for them wherever I go. I even ordered some seeds and can't wait for spring to start. Yes, I am going to have a plantain/dandelion/deadnettle patch in the garden. My friends made fun of me, sayng that everyone is trying to get rid of the weeds and I plant them.

She is our little baby and I still cannot believe how lucky I am. One of the things I love the most is when I am still just opening m eyes in the morning and I can hear my husband in the other room talking to the tortoise as he brings her food. It makes me feel that life is pretty great and I am thankful.


  1. Now that is a fantastic new wedding tradition your hubby has just invented! Rocket is adorable, congratulations again 🐢

  2. Thank you again :) Nothing says commitment like getting a pet that might outlive us both ;)


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