With a ton of options for “T” and a brief consideration of a Toucan, we ultimately ended up with this red-footed turtle. I first found a reference for a colorful box turtle, but much of the signature color was due to his spooky red eyes which started to creep me out. This one is actually a tortoise, which is a more specific way to describe a terrestrial turtle who doesn’t really know how to swim. Unless you’re in Great Britain, then this is not a turtle at all and should only be referred to as a tortoise. Far too stringent a rule for North Americans, but we’ll use tortoise henceforth to avoid confusion.

It’s rare to see a group of tortoises as they’re rather solitary creatures, with mothers fiercely protecting a nest, but then quickly abandoning their young right after they hatch. If you ever did see a group of tortoises, you would refer to them as a “creep,” but this is unlikely to ever be necessary knowledge given their nature.  In my slap dash research, I was curious if tortoises could feel touch on their shells. It turns out their shells do have nerve ending and they can feel every little rub, and some videos on YouTube seem to suggest some actually enjoy a good petting.

Most curious was the subject of gender. Apparently you can’t tell a tortoise’s gender until it reaches a certain size. This time frame varies by breed, but when it comes to sexual maturity, size actually does matter for tortoises. There was a bit about smelling with their throats, but then I was distracted by another cute cat video so that’s all the tidbits we have for today. Next up is the dreaded “U” with precious few options that anyone has ever heard of, so please feel free to submit your suggestions on where we go next in the comments!

About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Pyrrol Red, Quinacridone Gold, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Neutral Tint and Titanium White Gouache. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal


Posted by:Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world!

48 replies on “T Is For Turtle

  1. I love all your tidbits of information. His (her?) shell is really lovely too. And they like to be petted…that is cool.
    I think you must stretch a bit and do a unicorn. There have been many times and places where it was considered a real animal. And perhaps it was (is)! (K)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. How do I say…”you rendered the hell out of this sucker…”! Please know this is a huge compliment, ole handsome turtle! Okay clearly “U” is for unicorn but if you must be literal how about a Utah prairie dog.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. That tortoise is almost sparkly, it’s so pretty!❤ Cute cat videos is the internet equivalent of "squirrel!". LOL! My brain is a little fried so I can't think of a single U animal right now. Can't wait to see what you come up with!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. How wonderful! I love how you’ve done the shell – those red markings are unnerving me a little, though! That said, I would hope I’d be able to run away from a deadly tortoise (though I wouldn’t bank on it, my fitness levels as they are.) Such love for the tortoise, though; one of many creatures I asked for as a child, but was fobbed off until the urge passed.

    I’m most intrigued to see what you pluck out for U! Really the only thing I can think of is Ungulate, and that’s not exactly narrowing things down.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jacob!! Yeah…I wanted one with a bit of color, but the spots are a bit freaky. The one with red eyes is perfectly terrifying!! 😳 Though I would hope you’d managed to outrun the deadly tortoise…that would be the most embarrassing death of all time. 😊lol And I had never heard of the world Ungulate…had to google it! Hehe… Yeah…that’s a plethora of options!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a great doodlewash, Charlie! I love turtles/tortoises. Thanks for the bit about their shells that made me happy to learn for some reason (maybe its cause I’d like to have a little one for a pet someday).
    For your next letter, I can only think of the ulysses butterfly for ‘U’.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. So a group is a ‘creep’ … if I was a tortoise I’m not sure if I would like that, but it actually seems totally appropriate! You could cheat a bit on the U and do an Orang Utan, or maybe an ungulate which is apparently any hoofed mammal … but maybe the unicorn would be most fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What a beautiful tortoise! Love the white splatters on the shell! And who comes up with these words…creep of turtles… Lol! I may actually have a little time to doodlewash this week.. Crossing my fingers! 😜

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This turtle is so cute! Good job, I love his spots. You could try a Uakari monkey for “U”. They are rather interesting to look at, and they have red faces.🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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