Beloved Family Tortoise Goes on the Run, Gets Kidnapped

by Lauren Boisvert
(Image Credit: Antonio Salinas/Getty Images)

A family in Monfort Heights, Ohio is asking neighbors for help after their beloved pet tortoise escaped his pen and was subsequently kidnapped by an unknown individual. Krystle Gaiser posted on Facebook recently that her family is missing their pet tortoise, Gunner. The family lives on Kleeman Road, where Gunner escaped from his pen when the goats pushed it open.

A team that works with the WestSide Market, a west side Cincinnati small business pop-up market, saw Gaiser’s post and wanted to help a west side local. A spokesperson for the team spoke with WCPO out of Cincinnati, explaining that many residents saw Gunner on North Bend Road, but a man in a white van pulled up and snatched him before anyone could intervene.

Apparently, neighbors spoke to him about the tortoise. According to WCPO, the man told them the tortoise wasn’t his, but that he had one at home. In his words, he wanted to “mate them.” Sounds similar to this school that was caught collecting the endangered Texas tortoise after years.

The family is, rightfully, devastated. They said that 10-year-old Gunner has been a long-time family member, and they just want him back safe. WCPO reported that Gunner likes “riding on the family’s Roomba and enjoying a sweet peach in the summer sun.”

Gaiser is offering a reward on her Facebook post if anyone returns Gunner. Anyone in the west side Cincinnati area with any information can call the WestSide Market team at 810-964-7699.

Two-Headed Tortoise Celebrated 25th Birthday In September

In happier news, this past September, Janus the two-headed Greek tortoise celebrated his 25th birthday. Janus lives at the Geneva Natural History Museum in Switzerland, where he hatched in 1997.

On his special day, Sept. 3, the museum offered tons of different activities, all featuring Janus. He started his day with a toothbrush bath, then went out for a meet and greet with his fans. There was also a “selfie with Janus” opportunity, a Q&A session with his handlers, and a scientific lecture that further explained Janus’ rare condition.

In his daily life, when it’s not his birthday, Janus still gets treated like royalty. He gets a daily toothbrush bath with green tea and camomille, daily massages, and walks around the museum grounds. Sometimes he even rides a special skateboard around the museum halls.

Janus not only has two heads, though, but two hearts, two pairs of lungs, and two separate personalities. “The right head is more curious, more awake, it has a much stronger personality,” said caregiver Angelica Bourgoin. “The left head is more passive and loves to eat.” 

Overall, it would be impossible for Janus to have survived in the wild with two heads. For the past 25 years, he’s lived a cushy life at the Geneva Natural History Museum, and we’re hoping for many more years ahead for Janus.