TNB Night Owl – Sweetie Goes Home

Tortoise, Photo by Casey Klebba

Missing tortoises aren’t as uncommon as one might think. When they’re kept as pets, they’re typically outdoor creatures, so they have plenty of time to escape. More to the point, with their large shells most of their owners don’t realize they can burrow.

They can. Down underneath a gate or fence, up on the other side, and they’re off to the races. The very, very slow races.

Tortoises are decorative pets, though. They’re not typically aggressive about getting attention, with the result that owners might not realize their pet is missing until hours or, rarely, days after they escape.

Sweetie the Tortoise was one of the wayward ones. The pet of Sara Coggeshall of Sacramento, California, she’d been affectionate and playful for two decades until she suddenly went missing. Sweetie had originally been Sara’s father’s pet, and was not just a companion animal but a living memorial to her dad. The family alerted neighbors and put up flyers, made appeals on social media and just hoped. With each passing day, that hope dwindled.

A week later, on October 23 (last Wednesday), Sweetie was found, and after some quick back-and-forth on social media, she was reunited with her family.

At first glance a runaway tortoise story seems odd, until a little research uncovers how common it truly is. Sweetie’s story is still unique, though. In that week, the long-lived reptile had traveled five miles… back to her prior home.

A decade before, Sara and Sweetie had lived at an address five miles away, and it was the exact address where Sweetie was found. Coggeshall believes the tortoise may have been searching for an old friend, an iguana who lived with her at the previous property with whom she’d regularly played tag.

“The iguana would be in one spot [and] she would chase her, the iguana would move she would chase her again. So maybe she misses her.”

Sara Coggeshall, via Good Day Sacramento

So, the tortoise would play tag with an iguana; the tortoise remembered how to get to the old home after traversing the distance once in the opposite direction ten years prior; and the tortoise covered five miles in seven days, including across at least one street of heavy traffic.

That’s a special tortoise.

Question of the night: What’s your most memorable prior residence?

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About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.