A Sulcata tortoise, thought to have been abandoned in a man’s driveway on new years day, was not actually abandoned at all. After making the news at the first of the year, and plenty of offers to take her home, the tortoises owners were identified and she was returned home. Turns out she, like many of her shell friends, is a talented escape artist and made her way over from a neighbor’s home. 

Check out this follow-up report on KITV4 on this gals happy ending. Especially interesting to note in this short video? Even though these tortoises are not native to Hawaii, they are actually doing a good job serving the environment.  These shells are doing a good job of noming away invasive weeds, clearing the way for (and fertilizing I’d guess) the native plant life. 

Just another reason to love em. 

(Source KITV Honolulu)

A well traveled tortoise is back where he belongs.

Rarely does a tortoise become a top story, but a reptile has been getting all sorts of attention after getting lost. Now, this tortoise story comes with a happy ending.

The phone had been ringing off the hook at State Representative John Mizuno’s office. Dozens of people wanted to talk about a large tortoise found on Oahu’s Windward side.

“We’ve had over 60 calls and over 100 emails to my office,” said Mizuno.

Many of those who called or emailed believed the wayward tortoise was their missing pet.

“We got at least 20 different people who claim that’s their tortoise,” said Mizuno.

It turned the tortoise wasn’t dumped in the Kaneohe yard where it was found. Instead, it escaped from a neighbor.

Tortoise expert Jim Juvik was not surprised to hear that about reptiles known for burrowing.

“They dig very deep burrows, 20­30 feet long. They love to burrow. When they get bigger they like to burrow under things like your foundation. They’re very strong. They can punch through wood fences, so they are always escaping,” said Juvik.

African Spurred tortoises are also known as sulcata tortoises. But Juvik has another name for them: suburban time bombs.

“In Southern California in the 1980s people were breeding them up, and selling them in pet stores. Everyone had a little one in their backyard. We’re calling them suburban time bombs because 20­30 years later the tortoises are big, and people are saying, ‘I’m not ready for this’,” said Juvik.

How big can they get?
Males grow bigger than the females and can weigh up to 200 pounds. They can also live to 150 years old.

The tortoises gobble up fresh vegetables and also eat grasses.

Instead of becoming a suburban time bomb in Hawaii, some say they could be used to help native forest restoration projects. Unwanted reptiles are already eating up invasive plants on the Garden Isle.

“We put them into our enclosures on Kauai and they eat the weeds. They don’t eat the native plants, which is just the opposite of the deer, goats, pigs, everything else we have introduced into Hawaii,” said Juvik.

Juvik said many pet owners just aren’t prepared for growing challenges of the ever­growing tortoises. For those thinking about getting these reptiles or who already have one, check out

www.turtleconservancy.org for more useful information.

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