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A calming presence: meet 'Pythag' the tortoise!

A calming presence: meet 'Pythag' the tortoise!

Mr Bertram - a Maths teacher at our Senior School - has enabled students to have access to a calming diversion during the lockdown: his 'tortoise cam', featuring his pet tortoise, Pythagoras (or 'Pythag' for short).


How long have you had him? How old is he?

I have had Pythag since July 2016, so around 4 years. When I got him he was a few months old and really tiny. 


I understand that a class gave him to you?

Yes, at my first school, a girl in my Year 9 maths class remembered that I really liked tortoises (it had come up at some point during a Maths lesson when we were doing surveys about pets...). At the end of the year when I was leaving, the class got together and got him for me. It was such a surprising and kind gift, and he has brought me so much happiness!


What are the positive effects you think the tortoise cam has?

I really enjoy watching Pythag roam around – it's really relaxing and interesting to watch what he does each day. He is really surprising in lots of ways – for example, it's absolutely untrue that tortoises can't move quickly, although they do like to rest a lot in between their bursts of speed. He is also an amazing climber – after many attempts he has finally figured out how to scale the vertical wall of his enclosure and escape onto the windowsill. Now we let him roam around much more, and in lockdown he probably walks further than I do on some days! I can't always do the tortoise cam – when I find him in the morning, he has often escaped and is clearly in need of a runaround. But when he's still there, it's really calming to watch him shuffling around and eating his breakfast. He is also a good advertisement for healthy eating – for breakfast he usually has a salad of lamb's lettuce and pea shoots, garnished with viola flowers and a sprinkling of calcium powder, with a fresh drink of water (although I would not recommend any humans start sprinkling chalk dust on their food).