We had quite the surprise when walking out of the studio late this afternoon. Lumbering down the street was this uncomfortably large tortoise which, when it saw us approaching, decided to come visit. At first, I thought this was a very large specimen of the region’s protected Gopher Tortoise, but after speaking with Florida Fish and Wildlife, we came to find out it’s an African Spurred Tortoise. And after talking with our neighbor, we discovered it had been walking up and down our small street for several hours.
To give you an idea of just how large this guy is, the grass in the foreground of the picture is 2 to 3 inches high. The shell was 22 inches long and it likely weighed 75 to 80 pounds. Not wanting it to get run over or injured, we called around until we were connected with the kind folks at the Jacksonville Herpetological Society. After examining this big guy, they suspect he is someone’s pet (which would explain how friendly he was), was 30 or 40 years old and that he likely escaped from a back yard enclosure somewhere within a half mile or so from our location. So, if you happen to be missing a lawnmower-sized reptile, please contact us and we’ll connect you to the folks that are taking care of him.