Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Have you seen a runaway tortise?

A Pennsylvania woman is missing her fifty two pound tortoise. It ran away.

“I am devastated that this turtle is gone, and I feel responsible and I feel heartbroken,” the Chester Springs woman said.

“It’s just terrible, and I want to make sure she’s safe. People out here eat snapping turtles, so I’m concerned someone will find her and make dinner.”

Last today, the 52-pound, two-foot African sulcata tortoise — one of the world’s largest types — pushed open a gate left partly unsecured after some duck chow was delivered. She is still missing.

Dougherty, 48, who runs Chester Springs School & Little Farm a day care for children in her house, also cares for a lot of pets and rescue animals — a lamb, a miniature horse, dogs, goats, unwanted Easter chicks and ducks — on her acre of propertyNala was an unwanted pet, too — brought about 2 1/2 years ago by a landlord who took her from a troubled tenant trying to terminate the terrapin, hoping to make soup.

Less than a half-hour passed before Dougherty realized the tortoise was gone. But by then, Nala had hightailed it for parts unknown — probably toward the Kimberton-Phoenixville area, Dougherty said.She’s really fast this time of year,” she added.

When Nala escaped two years ago, a deck contractor had put her outside the fence, thinking she was a wild snapping turtle who got trapped.“She got three miles away within 24 hours,” Dougherty said. “She went to my neighbor’s house and tried to get in their door.”

Sounds like the tortise still wins the race.

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