Tortoise Eats Screws

By Julia Reusch, My Dog Ate What? Producer

This season we tried something a little different in My Dog Ate What.  We added one story for each episode featuring an animal that wasn’t a dog.  While it was a little more difficult to find good stories, it was definitely worth it.  I produced the story on Freddie the African Spur-Thigh Tortoise.  From the beginning of working on this story, I realized, this is nothing like the dog stories. As far as the shoot goes, working with a tortoise is totally different than working with a dog.  You can get cute shots of dogs running, playing and being active.  Freddie just walked.  And sloooooowly.  He really doesn’t play with toys.  He did like to eat but even that was a very tedious process.  He took one bite of strawberry in the amount of time my dog eats a whole bowl of food.  On the plus side, it was easy to get very tight shots of Freddie’s face.  With a dog, you can only get close shots if the dog is somewhat still.  Freddie is almost always somewhat still.  So we got a lot of shots of his face and he is adorable!

I’ll admit, I had never even heard of African Spur-Thigh Tortoises when I started on this story.  But I have since learned a lot.  They are super cute when they are little and only about two inches long.  It’s easy to understand why people want to buy them.  But hold on a second before you buy one.  They can live for up to 100 years and they get big, really really big.  I met an African Spur-Thigh Tortoise on the shoot who was more than 300 pounds.  Freddie’s owner, the Stachowiaks, have a plan to will him once they die.  They also have a bedroom set aside in their house for when he gets a little bigger because he’s going to outgrow his pen in the kitchen.  I just wanted to give you a warning that you’re going to watch Freddie’s story, see what a great pet he is, and want to get a tortoise.  Just be sure you remember the kind of commitment you’re making.

My Dog Ate What? Batteries, a Rock, and Cereal Boxes premieres Wednesday November 17 at 9P et/pt on Nat Geo Wild.

Video Preview: A tortoise winds up with several screws in his belly and needs a blood transfusion! Can the vet find tortoise blodd in time?