Runaway tortoise chased down by sheriff

FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. -- Last Thursday a wildlife rehabilitation center in Forsyth County had a tortoise go missing.

"There was a big search and rescue group," said Elexis Hays, owner of Wildlife Rehab Center. "There were a lot of feet on the ground. There were a lot of people looking. He was viral on Facebook, the sheriff's office, animal control. We had signs up. Every which way he could be found, he was found."

And he was. Tortellini, the 70-year old, 155-pound tortoise was found 3 days later, safe and sound, only a mile and a half away from home. A mile and a half in 3 days?! That means his pace was 0.014 mph, or 1.2 feet per minute. That may seem slow, but this wasn't an easy escape route.

Tortellini through a closed gate that he was able to wiggle all the way open, down a pasture, around the fence, down a hill, across a creek bed, and even a little farther than that before he was finally found.

It was rugged terrain and a broken shoulder that slowed him down so much, not because he isn't quick.

How do we know that? He's actually escaped before.

"He's really fast," Hays said. "He went a mile and a half in an hour and a half on his other escape."

For now, he's safe and sound at home and very tired from his little getaway. (SOURCE)

VIDEO Here's a news report of Tortellini's great escape:

Responses to "Runaway Tortoise Leads Authorities on Slow-Speed Pursuit (Video)"

  1. Anonymous says:

    Great animal. I hope that people will understand some time that it's not very respectful, but an act of domination to sit on this animal. Hopefully they learn to respect the feelings of animals.

  2. Anonymous says:

    That my my first reaction too. Oh great, the poor thing has a broken shoulder and you're letting your spoiled kid sit on top of it?! People don't think.

  3. pavloveia says:

    I totally agree with the previous commenters. I hope her eyes become opened by someone in her life that what she did is unacceptable. Tortellini and all other animals have not been put here for her entertainment. She needs to be taught to respect all life.

  4. Anonymous says:

    @PavLOVEia, I love your name :-)
    and I agree with all that has been said here. It is so good to experience such understaning and compassion for animals. It takes a lot of will and self empowerment to get there and it is often not easy to deal with realities... Keep up this awesome work. Love

  5. Unknown says:

    MAYBE it is TIME to let HIM go back to the wild, HE will survive, and not have stress of being chased down!

  6. Unknown says:


  7. jenn1naustralia says:

    what the...........? Why is a big girl like that on his back if he has a broken shoulder...hmmm does he need rescuing from the rehab centre?

  8. Anonymous says:

    He cannot go back to the wild - he was probably never wild to begin with. He's an African sulcata tortoise, they are commonly bred in captivity in the US, and there are many for adoption from rescues. They might survive a Georgia winter, but probably not. They get to be over 100 pounds and do not hibernate.

  9. Katrina says:

    I take that back, if he is 70 years old, then he probably is a wild-caught tortoise, but that still makes him from Africa - it would be illegal to release him "to the wild" in the US. They can go through chain link fence or even dry wall when they're that large.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Why did they let the child sit on it. IT IS NOT A PONY !

  11. Anonymous says:

    Poor Turtle, you know Tortellini needs
    Catherine of Albuquerque N.M.

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