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Mike lives in our conservatory with his mate Tonka the tortoise, of whom you have read.

Mike moves pretty fast when he spots Tonka’s food. Tonka puts on a remarkable burst of speed to counter Mike’s thievery. Tonka is not interested in Mike’s food but he quite likes Mike’s heat lamp and climbs into his pen to bask in it.

Mike arrived here as an egg in the traditional way, except that his mother abandoned him before he was hatched.  She was sitting on 25 eggs, three hatched and that was enough for her, she got bored waiting for the rest.  So the remaining 22 – including Mike – went into an incubator but only Mike made it out (clearly Nigel the cockerel isn’t particularly effective in his work).

Mike is my friend. I spend a lot of time with him – and Tonka – and he thinks my hand is his mother because that’s the first thing he saw. He hates my feet, and attacks my trousers, but my hand is, to him, the soft, warm, downy breast of his Mum. So I stroke him on the chest, and tickle his chin, and feed him. Now that he’s old enough to be interested in his cell mate, I often have to feed them at the same time. This is a challenge because Tonka eats a sort of porridge made of grass, and dandelions. Mike likes both so I have to hold Mike at bay while I drip porridge into Tonka’s mouth, then put a foot on Tonka while I feed Mike. I always knew bringing up two children of my own would come in handy.

eanwhile the subject of quadrupeds has re-emerged. Alarmingly, two donkeys are moving into a field opposite us, temporarily, because they need re-homing. My chances of holding out against this unnecessarily provocative temptation are nil. They will be heart warmingly cuddly. They probably have a notice round their necks saying ‘Sarah, please adopt us poor orphan donkeys with no-one to love.’ I will be spending my winter building field shelters for them.  And then I’m moving into the conservatory with Mike and Tonka.

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