Police discover over 10,000 endangered tortoises jammed into one small house

An overwhelming stench of poop and urine led authorities to check out what was going on in an unassuming two-story house in Toliara, Madagascar. When they opened the front door, they were shocked to find the house full of endangered tortoises--10,068, to be exact. According to Soary Randrianjafizanaka, a representative from Madagascar's environmental protection agency, so many of the poor little critters were jammed into the house that they literally had no room to move.

From National Geographic:

In total the house contained 9,888 live radiated tortoises, a rare species found only in Madagascar—and 180 dead ones. Randrianjafizanaka helped count them as rescuers loaded them onto six trucks that made several trips to Le Village Des Tortues (Turtle Village in French), a private wildlife rehabilitation facility in Ifaty, 18 miles north of Toliara. It took until early the following morning to transfer all the tortoises to the rescue center.

The majority of the turtles taken to the rehabilitation facility are doing well, now that they've been cleaned up, moved into more suitable quarters, and provided with veterinary care. Unfortunately, close to 600 of the turtles have died since being removed from the house, due to dehydration or infection--the result of their long neglect.

With a shrinking population of around three million of the reptiles, the trade of radiated turtles, each of which can have shells up to 16 inches across and weigh as much as 35 pounds, is illegal in 182 countries. That makes the turtles an attractive product for blackmarket traders operating out of Madagascar, to export to shady buyers around the world. Read the rest

This adorable little boy is a tortoise whisperer

Eddy Gun is a tortoise keeper and a few weeks ago he shared this adorable video of his son feeding the family’s tortoise collection:

You can see a few more tortoise videos below and even more photos and videos on Gun’s Instagram.

Read the rest

World's fastest tortoise

Bertie the tortoise broke the world record for the fastest animal in his species, moving at .28 meters/second, beating a tortoise named Charlie's 1977 record of .125 meters/second. Meet Bertie in the video below, celebrating his entry into the new Guinness World Records book.

Read the rest

Tortoises opening doors

The more I think about this, the more terrifying it gets. Here are more videos of tortoises opening doors. Read the rest

Cop shoots aggressive tortoise

A Ugandan police officer enjoying a cup of tea at home shot and killed a tortoise because it "became very aggressive" and "violent," according to the BBC News. Read the rest

Lost pet tortoise found in family storeroom 30 years later

Leandro Almeida of Rio de Janeiro was cleaning out a storeroom at his family's home when a neighbor noticed a tortoise in a box meant for the trash. Turns out, the tortoise was Manuela, a family pet who they thought escaped back in 1982. From Edmonton Journal:

The red-footed tortoise feeds in the wild on fruit, leaves, feces and dead animals, a professor told Brazil's Globo.com, but can go up to three years without eating.

The family speculated that Manuela may have survived on termites while in the house.

"Family finds pet tortoise that was missing for 30 years as they clean out dead father's storeroom" Read the rest