Tuesday, September 6, 2011 02:00 PM

An unexpected visitor

in Pets and Animals by MegaBearsFan
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After a spring and summer plagued by home invasions by crane flies, spiders, and scorpions, it's nice to find an animal at my house that isn't a disgusting creepy-crawly critter.

While I was out getting the mail today, I found this little guy just crossing the street:

Baby tortoise found crossing the street outside my house

Yep, it's a tiny little newly-hatched baby tortoise crossing the street of a walled-in neighborhood in a major metropolitan suburb. He (or she) is a very lucky little tortoise to have not been run over or killed by someone's dog or cat.

Not wanting to risk letting the poor thing get crushed by a person or a car, I brought him in and put him in an empty soda can box to keep him out of trouble while I figure out what to do with him. He's a tiny little critter - about the width of a golf ball. It's unlikely that he's a wild tortoise, considering how young he is and where I found him. My guess is, somebody in the area has some pet tortoises in their back yard, they had babies, and (at least) one got out. Hopefully he doesn't have any brothers or sisters running around the neighborhood. 

My older pet tortoises
My old pet tortoises.

Finding this hatchling brought up a nostalgic sense of irony, as I actually have pet tortoises that currently live in my parents' back yard. The first tortoise we had was found under similar conditions just over 19 years ago. My uncle and grandmother almost ran her over while she was crossing the street outside their house in the middle of town. This was during the height of the popularity of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and I was a young boy who was a big fan of that show. So they brought the rescued tortoise over to our house and gave her to me. That tortoise is now a healthy [approximately] 20 year old tortoise and mother of six.

I'm not quite sure what I'll do with this new tortoise though. For now, he's sleeping in a cardboard box in the kitchen. I didn't want to leave him in the backyard because he could crawl right under the gate. And I didn't want to keep him in the garage because I was worried that car fumes might make him sick. Hopefully being stuck in the air conditioned house doesn't cause any problems for him.

My plan is to write up a "Found baby tortoise" flyer and post them on some of the mailboxes around the neighborhood. It's very likely that this fella is somebody's pet, or the brand new child of somebody's pet, and I'm going to try to make at least some effort to return him to his rightful owners. For all I know, there is a little child - not unlike a younger me - who is crying him or herself to sleep right now because the family's new pet tortoise ran away.

But if nobody steps up to claim him, then I guess I will have myself a new pet tortoise, or a new friend to take to my old pet tortoise.

It'll be refreshing to have an animal in the house that isn't an unwelcome insect or arachnid!

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