Slow Moving Escape Artist: 150 Pound Pet Tortoise Has Fled 5 Times

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Mike Schuh joined WJZ Eyewitness News as a general assignment reporter...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—After months of searching, a Baltimore family finally finds its missing pet tortoise.

Mike Schuh has more on the tortoise’s history of running away very slowly.

Tortley is a tortoise, who lives in former Md. Gov. Theodore Roosevelt McKeldin’s home.

Tortley has the run of the manor.

“This is his tortoise run, and they’re very fast when it’s hot,” said Alexandra Roosevelt, owner.

Hot and wise. Roosevelt says Tortley has found breaks in the fence.

“There’s one spot where he’s once gotten out,” Roosevelt said.

In fact, Tortley is a slow-moving escape artist.  About every four years, he manages to outwit his owners.

He’s escaped five times.

One time, Tortley made it over to Charles Street.

“Within an afternoon he ended up down near Loyola,” Roosevelt said.

Then poof, he did it again. He went missing for three months.

How far could he go? He’s a tortoise, right?

The 150-pound tortoise had simply vanished again and he didn’t go through a hole in a fence.

His owners got a break when burglars stole bikes out of the garage where Tortley lived. The search for what had been taken turned out to be a journey of what’s been found.

Tortley was there the entire time, hiding in a closet.

“So my husband went in here, and the door wouldn’t open any more than this,” Roosevelt said.

Tortley knocked things over, blocking the door. He was under a shelf hibernating.

This winter under the heat lamps, fed like a reptilian prince, he will wait to plot his next escape. This one perhaps will be bigger than all the rest.

“They’re very much escape artists. My phone number is on his shell,” Roosevelt said.

So, if you ever come across Tortley, Roosevelt will be expecting your call.

This could be a very long saga because African spur thigh tortoises like Tortley can live to be 150 years old.

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