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#232 Asian Giant Tortoise

Critically Endangered

Around the World in 80 Days - Day 24

We are heading out on the Bay of Bengal with Phileas Fogg now, past Myanmar. Myanmar would have been Burmah at the time the book was set (the h was dropped later, and then changed to Myanmar)

There seems to be no actual knowledge of how many of these there are. Some estimates do say the numbers have dropped 805 in 135 years (just 3 generations). They are native to S and SE Asia, and there are 2 subspecies. They live in very humid and warm forest areas. They are not just one of the biggest tortoises in the world, they are the biggest tortoise in Asia, weighing up to 81 pounds. The most amazing thing about them is that unlike other tortoises, the mother stays and guards her eggs. She puts a lot of work into building a nest and then covers everything with leaves and debris, adding more when needed. She will try to fend off predators, but they are very slow even for tortoises, so if she can't scare off a predator she will plant herself over the nest. Other than humans, there are not many predators that can handle them when they are grown, most likely tigers though it sounds as if there has not been much study into the lives of these tortoises. There is a captive breeding program, and a program trying to get people to stop hunting them, so It is hoped they will be able to make it.

I am so excited, we may get snow. We might even get a good bit of snow. I feel bad for the blind terrier. He used to absolutely love playing catch the snowballs. If you look closely, you can see the drool even. This is from back in 2014, and while I don't think we will be able to get this much snow this year, I can certainly hope for it. Our Beagle Corgi mix is not as happy about the snow because of her stubby legs, she ends up with a very cold tummy. If we get snow I will be thrilled, it is the threat of freezing rain that is also in the forecast that I'm not as happy about. That makes driving difficult. Coming home from their old school the year of these pictures, a drive that normally took 20-30 minutes took 6 hours! We even had to stop at a store for a potty break and to stretch our legs because we were so tired of being in the car. People from other states don't really understand why Oregon seems to shut down when we get snow. For one thing, a whole lot of people are here from California where they may never see snow. For another thing, Oregon is one of the most hilly/mountainous states. My sister moved to Wisconsin and laughed at what was being called a mountain. Here it would be a hill. We had to go over what is technically a mountain in order to get to their school, but we think of it as a hill because it is under 1000 feet tall. Add to the hills the fact that we almost always get freezing rain before and after a snow, which makes things much more dangerous. Still, I love snow, and always tell my husband I want snow for Christmas.

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