Sunday, May 1, 2011

Terrapine Weather Forecasting

I've been watching for the past few weeks as Terrance slowly moved towards the surface of his burrow.  Brush an inch or two of leaf mulch aside and the top of his domed shell could be seen.  Of course, I'd cover him right back up, to keep him at whatever temperature that depth provided. 

Little by little he moved upwards until one day I could see one orange eye peering up through a small gap in the leaves.  It was as if he was saying, "Turn the light off.  I'm trying to get some sleep down here."

Then the day before yesterday it hit 83 degrees and yesterday, April 30, he fully left his burrow.  I found him about 18" away, still in the Vinca.  A quick weighing on the scale showed him to be 354 grams.  I fed him some sliced up strawberries, which he ate.

Later I saw that he was parked at an odd angle as if he was trying to get inside the house, so I moved him back to his burrow and covered him with mulch.  With temps heading down towards the low 30's tonight, I want him to stay safe. 

Here's his weight graph with the latest data point added.  As you can see, its his lowest weight ever. 

Looking back at the last three years of data, he broke hibernation on May 3, May 15, and this year April 30.  As I recall, he was up and about around April 15 in 2008.  Considering that there's a forecast of wet snow in the foothills, it looks like Terrance is doing a good job of weather forecasting, not coming out during a cold, windy April.