Saturday, January 28, 2012

Domain Explained

Meet Stanley. Stanley is a gopher tortoise. Stanley has been hanging around my yard for about a month now, and sleeping in strange spots, so I'm pretty sure he's homeless.

Meet George. George lives in this burrow on my property, which has been his exclusive domain for seven years.

Now anyone want to guess why Stanley has been hanging around my yard?

Yes, it appears that Stanley would like to move into George's burrow. I can't ask him why, but I'll guess he wants it because it's roomy, well-established and in a great location. No doubt Stanley also realizes that moving into George's burrow will allow him to munch on all the nice greens in my yard and keep him from becoming tortoise tartar for the local predators.

George, however, does not want to give Stanley his burrow. I also can't ask George why, but I'll wager he feels that finding the spot first, digging the burrow himself and living in it for the last seven years gives him the right to call it his.

George doesn't actually own his burrow; he just dug it out and lives in it. He's protective of it, though, and has had to defend it a couple of times. The people who used to own this property before we bought it didn't like George, and according to neighbors they "filled in" the burrow once when George was out grazing in hopes of getting rid of him. Aside from this being heartless and illegal (gopher tortoises are an endangered species, and you have to have a permit even just to relocate them) the burrows can be up to thirty feet long and twelve feet deep; they probably only filled in the entry foyer. A couple of times we've noticed other critters like black racer snakes, owls and foxes have tried to evict George, too, but with no luck.

But let's consider this dilemma from Stanley's point of view. Since George doesn't really own the burrow, why doesn't he simply give it to Stanley? After all, Stanley is homeless, and he really wants it, and it is perfect for him. Of course giving up the burrow would make George homeless, but really, George has been around practically forever, and has all that experience with finding and digging and defending that Stanley doesn't. It would be nothing for old George to go somewhere else and start over, right?

The point of this story: when you two-legged Stanleys out there e-mail me and tell me all about you, and your plans for making a home for yourself online, and then mention how absolutely perfect the name Paperback Writer is for the weblog you want to start, and then beg me to do things like give you my URL, change the name of my blog, and/or go find another place to write?

From now on I'm going to refer you to George.


  1. Adorable pictures and a lovely story but really? People ask that? Sigh.

  2. People seriously do that? Do they at least offer money or anything in return?

    I guess I'm lucky my website name is the same as my real name, which is, as far as I can tell, one-of-a-kind.

  3. Go George!

    I can't believe anyone would be low enough to try and mooch Paperback Writer off you. Shoo shoo, Stanley. Make your own home you lazy fart.

  4. Really some people are crude. Love your story and pictures. Old George knows give people an inch and they will take a mile. Paperback Writer wouldn't be the same without you.

  5. Seriously? There are people out there who do that? I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but honestly. *sigh*

    I like George! And I feel bad for Stanley. I'm the type who would be out there digging the start of a burrow for Stanley though which I know is inane but that's just me.

    I really thought though that you were going to tell us George was a Georgette. ;o)

  6. I was on the same page as Night Music... how weird, to request such a thing. Perhaps if these moochers had the creativity to come up with their own names, they would be better "paperback writers."

    I'd be pretty horrified if I came to this page and found somebody else here camping out. *shivers*

  7. Lotsa nutso people out there. Sigh.
    (too bad the tortoises aren't male and female...could be a lovely story). ;)

  8. Um. . . people actually ask you that? Wow, they aren't going to last long in this business I'd wager.

  9. :Head desk:

    That is all.

  10. Sorry, Stanley (and other would-be interlopers), you're out of luck.

    But both Stanley and George are handsome lads!

  11. Oh wow - someone wanted you to give them your blog name? Do they have a billion dollars?

    Not a smart person.

    Yours, Cyn

  12. Unbelievable. But what an entertaining way to say "get over it, moochers."

  13. I loved the story, and the pictures. How big are those turtles? Can't you feed them something else, so they leave your garden alone?

    On the two legged turtles, the nerve to ask something like that. Be creative and think of something original yourself!

  14. Aurian wrote: How big are those turtles? Can't you feed them something else, so they leave your garden alone?

    Stanley is about 6 or 7 inches in length and probably weighs about 5 or 6 pounds. George is almost 10 inches long and might weigh between 12 to 15 pounds. I never handle wild critters so these are just best guesses.

    The nice greens in my yard that they eat are mostly weeds and Spanish moss that falls from the oak trees, so we're fine with that. We use a little chicken wire fence to make a pen around anything we don't want the turtles to nibble onn in spring, like my rose bushes.)

  15. Thank you for explaining that! I live in Holland, and am often totally amazed what creature can live in an American backyard. Just read another post that had groundhogs and rabbits and squirrels eating the vegetables in the garden.

  16. Unless of course George is a female and Stanley...well that would explain why he'd want to move in. ;P

    I can't believe people are so self-centered they expect you to roll over and give them what they want. (Yes, I can but their audacity still surprises the heck out of me). (Hugs)Indigo

  17. GayLee9:28 PM

    Chutzpah: brazen gall, shameless audacity, utter nerve, impudence.

    Yep, you have been on the receiving end of it.

    Mort the tortise lived in my sister's yard in NorCal for many years. I don't remember what species, but he was delightful. I spent an afternoon feeding him hibiscus blossoms to our mutual enjoyment.


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