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Posted by Peter on November 08, 1998 at 17:57:28:
In Reply to: True turtle story posted by Alan on November 03, 1998 at 22:37:51:
Strangely enough, I have a similar story to relate. About 10 years ago I had a tortise (I don't even remember his name now). Being a little kid, I wanted to have him in the house so I could feed him and see him every day. However, my parents suggested that I keep him outside during the summer because I could provide him with a bigger cage on real soil with real sunlight. So I set up a nice little 9 square foot "cage" (just chicken wire) for him and took him out every day to play. Well much like you related, it rained and the little guy had no trouble digging his way out. When I went out to feed him some shrimp the next day, I was heartbroken to find him gone and a big hole dug under the chicken wire.
Well, I look for hours. Nothing. Who would think a tortise of all animals could escape so fast? After about a week of looking around the immediate neighborhood, I didn't find him. The big problem was that it was nearing the end of August and fall would be coming soon. I new that he could never survive the winter here (New York). In fact I thought that being in such a urban setting, something would probably kill him before it even got too cold for him (like maybe that group of cats that has been in the neighborhood longer than the people). But there was nothing I could do.
Winter came and past and once spring came around I was outside and playing. Then the strangest thing happened. Along the wall of my backyard, I saw my tortise walking through! It was really crazy. I could not believe he would even live, let alone return. So for the whole summer, I had my tortise again, only this time I didn't even need to put him in his cage because he seemed to enjoy hanging around (in fact, I bet he enjoyed his gourmet meals. I usually fed him lemon sole filets, jumbo shrimp, and occasionally lobster, better food than many people get to eat. Then again, at the end of August, he was gone, one month before fall would be settling in. Now as if coming back once in a relatively urban setting after a freezing winter (with snow) he did it again. And again. For three years, that tortise came back and even summer I would feed him and he would disappear towards the end of August. After that, I never saw him again, but I figure that he probably didn't make it (though each time he came back he was incredibly healthy and a little bigger). I know it seems a little inhumane but keep in mind that I was only 10. Of course, I could have caught him at any time and made sure that he didn't get away, but I felt that he would never have been able to live in a cage after his time in "the wild". I don't know if he lived a short life or if he is still living now, but all I know is that he was happy.
P.S. You should hear some similar stories I have about my pet rabbit (which I believe had a human or at least part human brain) and a wild pheasant that performed equally amazing feats. I guess my pets really enjoy it here.