We’ve heard many stories of dogs and cats going missing from home, but runaway tortoises are a lot less common. But that was the case recently when a giant 200-pound tortoise was found wandering the streets of Dallas.
And after a widespread search for the tortoise’s owner, he’s finally going home.
On September 19, Dallas Animal Services reported on a rather unusual missing pet case: a “very healthy, very large tortoise” who was picked up as a stray.
“It was bizarre. It was just the strangest thing,” field supervisor Shannon Miller told WFAA.
They put out an alert on Facebook, hoping someone would recognize the giant tortoise and reunite him with his family. More than 20 people reportedly called them, but none were the tortoise’s owners.
“I thought, how can this many people have lost their tortoise and not find it?” Assistant Director of DAS Mary Martin said.
But after many days of searching, they finally found the tortoise’s family. Owner Gabriel Fernandez saw the post on Facebook and “knew right away it was him,” he told WFAA.
The sulcata tortoise is named Lorenzo, and he reportedly escaped under a fence and was missing for five weeks. He lives in Fernandez’ home with 41 other pets, including a spider monkey.
Lorenzo was originally purchased from Jeff Lowe, a subject on Netflix’s popular documentary Tiger King, and once lived at the zoo featured on the show.
Fernandez said he was grateful for people sharing the story, or else he wouldn’t have reunited with his tortoise.
While tortoises are known for being slow-moving animals, sulcata tortoises also have a knack for escaping: earlier this month another sulcata tortoise named Marmalade made headlines after being rescued from the highway.
And last month, a 100-year-old African tortoise escaped into a canal before being rescued and reuniting with his family.
We’re glad this tortoise is finally home safe and sound! Please share this good news if you love animals!