Traveling Tortoise Comes Home After a Four Year OdysseyPublished July 12, 2010
Most of my close friends don't share their hearts and homes with turtles, thus my personal experience with the species is extremely limited.
And while I find most human-interest stories about animals engaging, and most heartwarming yarns woven about furry or feathered family members bringing me tears of joy to, it is rather uncommon to read such a compelling story about a reptilian homecoming.
So I was totally enchanted with an email I received from an online buddy, featuring the saga of 6-year-old Lucy, an African Spur Thigh Tortoise who, nearly four years ago, dug her way out of her enclosure, disappearing from her pen at the Wellington's greenhouse in Brentwood, New Hampshire.
According to WMUR 9, following her escape in October, her owners, Michael and Christine Wellington were very concerned that Lucy would freeze to death, due to the fast approaching frigid New Hampshire winter.
Native to the Sahara Desert, African Spur Thigh Tortoises are adaptable with a strong survival instinct. Lucy "knew" precisely where to seek shelter over the four years of the brutal New England winters. In an interview with WMUR, Mike Wellington said, "When it's really dry, those tortoises will dig several feet deep and sit for a year and wait for it to rain. And when it rains they come out and eat grass, so she must have dug a hole and sat there through the winters."
But I can only imagine how stunned the Wellingtons must have been when they recently received a phone call from a neighbor who lives a half mile from them, informing them that Lucy was still alive!
Since the "homecoming" tortoise carries the identical distinguishing protruding bumps on her shell, and her relationship with her stay-at-home sister Lionel continues to remain testy, a positive identification was easily made.
I bet Lucy must have been thrilled upon her return home, demonstrated by her ravenous appetite. She quickly gobbled down two heads of lettuce, followed by a bunch of summer squash and kale fed to her by the couple that found her.
Since Lucy's "odyssey" is now widely circulating around the internet, and shared between passionate animal lovers, I found it odd that AOL.com filed it under "weird news," since pet home-comings should be celebrated.
If Lucy could talk, I am sure she has a few fascinating tales of her own to share. Since this ten year-old adventurous escape artist now weighs in at 35 pounds; I suspect she won over a wide variety of human hearts through her years of travel. And speaking of years, did you know that tortoises can live up to 200 years of age?
For any "doubters out here who remain skeptical about tortoises' innate curiosity and intelligence, watch the entertaining video uploaded to YouTube by PetTubedotcom.
Let's hope that Lucy's wanderlust has been completely satisfied so she continues to live safe and sound with the Wellingtons. I am positive they feel the same way, don't you? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.