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
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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! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!