Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Tortoise Love on Valentine’s Day


Tortoise rescuer Kevin Proulx sent us this Valentine’s Day video celebrating the fifty tortoises now at TortoiseLand rescue, including 13 babies!

In recent weeks, Proulx has kept us up-to-date on the hatching of thirteen baby tortoises from nearly two dozen eggs laid by ShyGurl, an African Sulcata tortoise who’s a longtime resident of TortoiseLand. Over the past 24 weeks, ShyGurl has laid more than 100 eggs in three different clutches, the very first for the seven-and-a-half-year-old female. Proulx said the eggs were the surprising result of and unplanned and unauthorized encounter with an 80 pound male African Sulcata, named Shelly,  that Proulx rescued several months earlier.


Thirteen baby tortoises have hatched at TortoiseLand tortoise rescue.


The baby tortoise is the size of a quarter.


Proulx explained that he does not breed tortoises at TortoiseLand rescue. In fact, he makes sure to keep the males and females separate. In this case, however, the rescued male named Shelly broke through the chain link barrier separating ShyGurl and Lumpy, another female tortoise.

“We found an awesome new forever home for Shelly on a 30 acre horse ranch,” said Proulx. “Three months later, ShyGurl shocked us all by laying her very first clutch of eggs. There will be no more encounters with a male Sulcata, should one come TortoiseLand!” he added.

Three months ago, ShyGurl laid her very first clutch of 22 eggs. Six weeks later, she laid 32 more eggs, followed by 29 more eggs six weeks after that, according to Proulx.

“Never in the 20 years of my caring for Tortoises has a female tortoise laid the incredible number of eggs ShyGurl has. It’s now 113 eggs laid in total over 24 weeks,” Proulx told the Buzz.  “We have her on massive calcium supplements to help her regain the calcium it takes for her to lay that many eggs, and we hope her egg laying stops. Only once have I had a female lay a second clutch of eggs, so ShyGurl is not at all “normal,” and we have her under Dr. Schachterle’s care.”


Proulx captured this image of ShyGurl as she was laying eggs.


TortoiseLand is now caring for 13 baby tortoises that were incubated and hatched over the past several weeks, with more expected to hatch any day. They are currently incubating 70 eggs. Not all the eggs hatch, Proulx said, but even still, that’s a lot of babies tortoises that will need homes. After the babies hatch, they are placed in a nursery where they are cared for until they mature. After three to five months, the babies are available for re-homing.

“In all, we now have 50 tortoises, 12 different species, including the 13 African Sulcata babies that we are looking to re-home,” explained Proulx.  TortoiseLand works with interested humans who want to rehome a tortoise to create the right habitat depending on the species. Some, like the African Sulcata, can get quite large, so it’s important that everyone understand the species, explained Proulx.


African Sulcatas are the third largest tortoise species in the world, and can grow up to 230 pounds, this one pictured above weighs approximately 100 pounds.

Proulx has lots of information on his website and Youtube channel for anyone who is interested in learning more about these animals, who are threatened by habit loss and climate change. If you’re interested in giving a tortoise a forever home, you can reach Proulx at [email protected]. A tortoise would certainly make and unusual Valentine’s Day gift for someone. If a tortoise is not in your future, you can also support Proulx and TortiseLand hatchlings with a financial donation.


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Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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