Tortoise missing from Mount Pearl home

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Family pet disappeared from outside home on Winston Avenue, Mount Pearl

She may not be able to run fast, but she’s quicker than most people expect — and Strawberry Shortcake, the tortoise, has gone missing.

Strawberry Shortcake, the tortoise, has been missing from her home in Mount Pearl since Tuesday afternoon. — Submitted photo

Leanne Guzzwell of Winston Avenue in Mount Pearl, who owns the local Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo franchise, was giving Strawberry some playtime outside late Tuesday afternoon, and went inside to feed some other pets.

When she came back out, about 45 minutes later, Strawberry had disappeared.

“I could see a path in the grass, but then, where the grass got shorter, it ended,” Guzzwell said. “I don’t know if maybe she wandered out onto the road, and there’s always the possibility she could have been stolen. When they get moving, they’re quicker than people give them credit for. There are also a lot of trees and bushes around, so she could be tucked in there somewhere.”

Guzzwell has had Strawberry, who is 15 years old, is about a foot long and weighs about 10 pounds, for three years. She’s a red foot tortoise, native to South America, and Guzzwell is concerned about the effect the cold air and lack of humidity could have on her pet.

A team of Guzzwell’s family members, friends, neighbours and others have been searching for Strawberry, only giving up at midnight last night.

Strawberry is very friendly, Guzzwell says, and can be picked up if found — she has never snapped or bitten, and will pull herself inside her shell when frightened.

“She goes to kids’ birthday parties and is used to people,” Guzzwell explains. “She’s important to my business, but she’s definitely a part of the family. When you care for an animal every day, you become attached to it.

This is the first time Strawberry or any of Guzzwell’s 55 animals have gone missing. Normally she lives inside in a wooden enclosure, in a room with several other reptiles, amphibians and arachnids, and would not be suited to an aquarium.

Anyone who finds Strawberry Shortcake can contact Guzzwell at 699-3530.

Geographic location: Winston Avenue, Mount Pearl, South America

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