HomeOutdoorsGiant Tortoise Returns Home After Escaping Pen, Traveling Through 2 Alabama Counties

Giant Tortoise Returns Home After Escaping Pen, Traveling Through 2 Alabama Counties

by Jon D. B.
(Photo credit: GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP via Getty Images)

This enormous tortoise, aptly named Sparkplug, is now home after journeying across two Alabama counties and several farms. What a trooper!

When a 60-year-old African spurred tortoise escapes their home – do they come back? Ty Harris has living proof that they do.

Sparkplug, the shell-in-question, broke free of his enclosure Thursday. After breaking loose in Etowah Country, Alabama, he was spotted on the side of a distant highway. There, a motorist took him to his own 200-acre farm in Marshall County.

Harris then tells The Gadsden Times that he was using social media to locate his enormous escapee. Through Facebook, he was able to learn of the motorist picking up Sparkplug. The big guy, however, was still now on a 200-acre farm…

“A big, roaming tortoise leaves tracks, and area farmers were able to see where Sparkplug had plowed through soybean fields. The man who initially released Sparkplug into the wild found the tortoise and returned it to Harris on Saturday,” the Associated Press clarifies.

“He just had a couple of days out on the town,” says Harris of his tortoise pal.

Why is an African Tortoise in Alabama?

Sparkplug must’ve been a highly unusual sight to spot on the side of a highway. As an African spurred tortoise, he could be a solid 150-pound reptile. In addition, their shells can be over 30 inches long.

Harris, however, wasn’t just some schmuck who decided to purchase a tortoise. In fact, Harris once was the operator of a wildlife sanctuary. He says Sparkplug came into his care after a New Jersey family couldn’t keep him. This, of course, begs the question – what on Earth was a giant reptile doing as a pet in New Jersey?

Many people, however, are clueless when it comes to animals. The New Jersey family should’ve stuck with a dog or cat. And these clueless tourists should never be allowed into Yellowstone National Park again.

[H/T Associated Press]