Saturday, August 8, 2009
We just had the extreme pleasure of attending a birthday party for Gus, a 24-year-old, 400-pound Galapagos tortoise—quite possibly the most fascinating party we've ever been to. The party hosts (who are friends of my parents) have a whole herd of the massive reptiles at their house and have transformed the backyard into a tortoise paradise for their Galapagos, Aldabra, Sulcata, and Leopard tortoises. Many of these guys (and gals) respond to their names, and all have unique personalities with distinctive likes and dislikes. Gus's fave food is celery, while Al prefers bananas. Hee! Gus welcomed everyone, lumbered around quite festively, and munched on large quantities of celery. He had a very creative birthday cake that cracked us all up: The girls were thrilled beyond belief that they got to feed the tortoises, pet them, and even sit on one. Ro and Ree were so well-behaved we couldn't believe it (I think they were too stunned by the wonderfulness of it all to even think about misbehaving), and even wore their best turtle attire: We all had a ball, except, possibly, for the one minute when we were standing in the balmy tortoise house and a tortoise named Mama bumped against my leg and pushed me aside. I'm sure no one heard my slightly hysterical scream or noticed that I tried to climb up the girl standing next to me (sorry Tina). The full set of pictures, including one of the newly hatched baby tortoise, is here: thumbnails, captioned pics, slideshow (click "show info" to turn on slideshow captions). And you can also check out this sign they made telling about the types of tortoises they have, where they came from, and what their personalities are like. (click to enlarge) Crazy fun. If you ever get invited to a tortoise's birthday, GO!