Shortly after we had paid our admission to this garden we were encouraged to check out the reptiles in the back room of the gift shop. I did not realize until I got home that, according to the park's brochure, it is also a nature center. At the time I thought it a bit strange to be looking at reptiles instead of flowers. A carpenter was sprawled on the floor of the reptile room when we arrived there. He was busily working on some sort of cabinets. However, he got up immediately from the floor and warmly greeted us. I must say that I saw some strange things in the room, but the staff member was eager to explain everything. He said that he was there mainly to do carpenter work, but over time he has gotten to know the animals well. A large African spurred tortoise was actively banging into the sides of his cage. I have never seen such an active turtle! The staff worker explained that someone had bought him as a pet and then turned him over to the gardens. The turtle can grow to over 100 pounds; he needs a large grazing area (his diet is largely grass) and he also has certain temperature requirements. Usually the turtle, pictured below, is kept outside in a cage with a female, but lately he has been heavily courting her and the staff felt she needed a break from him.