Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Did Hannah come calling?


When I lived across the street and down a few houses, a big gopher tortoise just like this one would visit my yard every day and eat whatever of our plants she liked. Often times if I had bananas in the house I would put one out for her. We became as much friends as a human and a tortoise can.

Some mornings when I would forget her bananas, she would come to our screen door and bang her head against the kick plate of the door. The noise would get my attention and also a banana for her. I began calling her Hanna because it rhymed with her favorite food.

After I moved from across the street (almost ten years ago), Hannah stayed behind. When people rented that house we would tell them about Hannah and her bananas continued to come to her.

We sold that house was sold in April of this year and I saw no more of Hannah. That is until possibly yesterday.

I was washing up some dishes while gazing out the kitchen window. That’s when I saw the tortoise in my back yard. I grabbed a banana and my camera. What were the odds the tortoise would wait for me to take a picture? So I approached my visitor while softly calling, “Hannah”. The tortoise stopped and looked at me. I kept talking and not once did the tortoise draw itself into its shell. She watched me as I peeled a bit of the banana, all the while still talking to her. I knelt down and held out my hand with the banana in it. Slowly she moved her head nearer my hand and then she carefully took a bite of the banana. I laid the rest of the banana on the grass for her. I waited as she continued to eat. As she ate, my camera clicked away. You can see banana bits on her mouth in the picture.

Was it Hannah? Could a gopher tortoise remember me, my voice and my treats for her? I don’t know, but I sure would like to think so. I sure would like to believe that it was Hannah who came calling yesterday.

32 Comments:

Blogger fallenmonk said...

Of course it was Hannah. Bananas aren't a natural food available to them and the fact that she did not react defensively and took the banana is proof positive. They don't have a whole lot of stimulus and things that please them surely leave a strong memory.

July 18, 2007 4:14 AM  
Blogger Wren said...

What a wonderful story. I choose to believe it's Hannah.

July 18, 2007 4:42 AM  
Blogger Peacechick Mary said...

She was either Hannah or daughter of Hannah who learned at her mothers little knee about the wonderful woman who moved across the street.

July 18, 2007 5:40 AM  
Blogger Pursey Tuttweiler said...

It was Hannah, I just know it. She probably watched you for all those years and finally said, "What the heck, I'll make the trek, Patricia will give me a banana." I know nothing about tortoises, especially that they liked bananas. This is one of my favorite stories.

July 18, 2007 6:07 AM  
Blogger SB Gypsy said...

Hannah Hannah bo banna...

Of course! I hope she sticks around.

July 18, 2007 6:26 AM  
Blogger Sparky Duck said...

of course it was Hannah, if Fred can type, or at least muse on a blog, then hannah can find a banana

July 18, 2007 6:32 AM  
Blogger Sherry said...

yes, it's hannah. what a wonderful thing!

July 18, 2007 6:38 AM  
Blogger pogo2 said...

Probably was, and if not, so what - you may have a new friend.

July 18, 2007 6:39 AM  
Blogger Mary said...

Way too cool. Of course it's Hannah!

July 18, 2007 7:03 AM  
Blogger robin andrea said...

I think it's Hannah too. I hope she stays in your backyard now. There's a banana everyday if she does!

July 18, 2007 7:13 AM  
Blogger WeezieLou said...

what's the debate - of COURSE it was Hannah. and she know her name.

what a sweet, sweet story. thanks!

July 18, 2007 7:25 AM  
Blogger Joni said...

Cool story, I can't imagine having a turtle wander into your yard. Wow!

July 18, 2007 7:46 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

i'm pretty sure it is hannah. the eating out of hand is what sold it. that's simply not wild behavior.

name update: medskoolgirl and i have settled on "boudica, warrior queen of the barn" for our new pride leader. when we get home we'll see if she accepts.

July 18, 2007 7:48 AM  
Blogger LET'S TALK said...

Very beautiful story. I hope this was your hannah.

July 18, 2007 8:02 AM  
Anonymous momadness said...

This post gave me the most delightful shivers! Of course it's Hannah. How wonderful!

July 18, 2007 10:43 AM  
Blogger Nvisiblewmn said...

What a story! If it wasn't Hannah (and I believe it was), then the turtles have gotten the word out about you: PoP, friend to turtles. Very cool.

July 18, 2007 10:51 AM  
Blogger Larry said...

Must be Hannah.

July 18, 2007 11:03 AM  
Blogger mommanator said...

O who else could it have been! SHe was waiting for the house to be sold and come across as she didn't want to hurt the other families feelings!

July 18, 2007 11:59 AM  
Blogger Sewmouse said...

I'm convinced it was Hannah. Too many non-standard behaviors, and it's not like she had to cross 3 states to get to you.

It's so nice that your friend remembers you!

July 18, 2007 12:45 PM  
Anonymous cheesesauce said...

Hi POP! It is most likely your old friend and not Yertle the Turtle.

July 18, 2007 1:46 PM  
Blogger beachblogger said...

dear PoP,

i'd love to have a tortoise visit my yard!

peace, peter

July 18, 2007 2:21 PM  
Anonymous scott said...

Can tortoises hear?

July 18, 2007 2:31 PM  
Blogger Merci said...

I Believe!

July 18, 2007 3:02 PM  
Blogger Psychomikeo said...

Touching thanx for sharing & thanx for stopping by my blog!

July 18, 2007 5:02 PM  
Blogger Gary said...

Of course it was Hannah...

Thoughtful comment you left at Cafe Da about successful marriage.

July 18, 2007 5:12 PM  
Blogger Aaron A. said...

The turtle came back,
the very next day...sort of.

July 18, 2007 9:37 PM  
Anonymous Emily said...

Thank you for the best news I've had in days and days. I think Hannah has found her long-lost friend. Probably the latest people in her old home didn't give her bananas and she knew she had to make the trek to you. What a great story.

July 18, 2007 10:47 PM  
Blogger Neil Shakespeare said...

Good on ya. I didn't even know turtles ate bananas. But then i've never seen a turtle eat. Cool story.

July 18, 2007 11:30 PM  
Blogger sumo said...

I believe it was Hannah. I've had desert tortoises since infants and they have habits and likes/dislikes like the rest of us animals. I had a male that would let me approach and stroke the top of his head without fear...and he really seemed to enjoy it. He'd put his head into it and shut his eyes like he was in a dream state. I could call them out and they'd come toddling over. Every year I cooked the leaving of the garden for them (minus high phosphorus foods) and bagged it and froze it for when they came out of hibernation. They ate well.

July 19, 2007 2:51 AM  
Blogger Jazz said...

I don't know if it was Hannah, but the tortoise obviously felt it had nothing at all to fear from you.

And that is great.

Oh, and thanks for dropping by on my blog.

July 19, 2007 5:10 AM  
Blogger oldwhitelady said...

Yes, I, too, think it was Hannah. What a heartwarming story!

July 20, 2007 10:13 PM  
Blogger Floridacracker said...

POP,
Gophers definitely hear well, my herd starts scampering for their burrows way before I get close.
Wonderful experience and story!

I am with you in your gopher admiration.

July 21, 2007 9:07 AM  

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