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DE Press: Tortoise makes slow getaway

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Posted by: W von Papinešu at Fri Sep 17 09:32:12 2010  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by W von Papinešu ]  
   

NEWS-JOURNAL (Wilmington, Delaware) 14 September 10 Tortoise makes slow-speed getaway - 50-pounder found blocks from pet store (Ira Porter and Terri Sanginiti)
A 50-pound brown-and-tan tortoise named Roger reported missing from the Greenbank Aquarium near Prices Corner was found late Monday, blocks from home.
Roger, an African sulcata, was last seen by pet store employees about 2 p.m. Friday, sitting on a patch of grass outside the store in the 100 block of Greenbank Road, where he was chomping on grass.
And chomping on grass was how 19-year-old Monica Sandelier found him at 9:30 p.m., near her Greenbank Apartments home.
"It just caught my attention. It was slowly moving toward the street. It looked like a big rock," Sandelier said. "It was freakin' huge."
She called New Castle County police after her brother told her about the search for the tortoise.
"I didn't know it was missing until my brother came outside and said something. I didn't see, read anything in the paper," she said.
Aquarium owner Billy Williams had offered a reward for the 16-year-old tortoise, who's a fixture at the pet store. A core of fans regularly shows up just to pet him, Williams said.
The tortoise was allowed to roam the store, and he even knew how to open the front door, said Williams, who has owned the tortoise since he was "the size of a tennis ball."
"He uses his right leg to open the front door and pushes it open like a Sherman tank," he said.
Williams described his pet as "very social" and fun.
"He's got a great personality for a turtle," he said.
"My initial reaction was that it came from the woods or it escaped from somewhere," Sandelier said. "We called the cops. It just so happens that when we called them, a county officer drove by and we flagged him down."
Williams had been worried about the tortoise because Roger requires special food, proper lighting and heat, and is not a pet for the average household, he said.
Newark police got a call Monday afternoon from a man saying he had seen a turtle at Becks Pond in Glasgow. Others claimed Roger sightings as far away as New Jersey and Maryland.
Tortoise makes slow-speed getaway


   

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