Leander tortoise reunited with family
LEANDER, Texas - UPDATE: According to the Leander Police Department, Donatello the tortoise has been reunited with his family as of Monday.
Someone's pet tortoise made a break for it in Leander.
Turns out, it's not the first time one of these reptiles has been caught by the city's animal control.
This isn't your typical escapee. In fact, he's pretty cold-blooded.
"He's actually quite fast, and he can be feisty," said Edna Ellis the Leander animal services supervisor. While in the stories, the tortoise beats the hare in a race this guy wasn't quite fast enough to outrun Leander animal services.
"We don't have a hare to have him race against, but he's pretty quick," said Ellis.
Known as a sulcata tortoise, it was found roaming around a nearby neighborhood after officials believe he made a break for it.
"We do believe that it escaped, we do believe that it is a pet and not a regular type of wildlife we have here in Texas. It is not a tortoise that is indigenous to the state of Texas," said Ellis.
This is not the first tortoise to escape a home in Leander in fact they've had a handful of cases within the past few years. "This is a very common tortoise that is sold in flea markets, pet stores, it is sold all over the state," said Ellis.
Ellis gave FOX 7 some insight on how tortoises have escaped homes in the past.
"Sometimes if there is a hole in the fence they will push through. They like to put their heads through and push and break through, other times it would be through a hole, they do burrow but it would just be breaking out of a fenced in yard unless they were left in an open garage or area where they can escape," said Ellis.
Tracking down the owner can be tricky as tortoises can't be micro chipped like dogs or cats.
"The shell is the main identifier for tortoises and if the owner is able to provide us proof that the markers on their tortoise matched this tortoise then it's a great possibility it could be their tortoise," said Ellis.
Whether you own a dog, cat or even a tortoise Ellis recommends you make sure wherever they play is well secure at all times, or they too can make a break for it. So far, Leander has yet to track down the owner. If you know anything about who it may belong to call Leander police 512-528-2800