After two weeks on the run — ok, maybe a crawl — Strawberry Shortcake the tortoise is back with her owner.
Strawberry Shortcake, the tortoise, went missing from her home in Mount Pearl two weeks ago. Owner Leanne Guzzwell found her during the weekend. — Submitted photo
Strawberry Shortcake went missing June 3. Her owner, Leanne Guzzwell of Mount Pearl, had put her outside for some playtime in the sun, and left for about 45 minutes to feed some of her other pets. When she came back, her beloved tortoise was nowhere to be seen.
Guzzwell, who owns the local Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo franchise, was concerned for Strawberry, who is 15 years old, about a foot long, and 10 pounds. A red foot tortoise, she’s native to South America, and Guzzwell was worried the temperature would drop too low for her. She was hoping someone would find her and take her in.
Teams of family members, friends and neighbours helped Guzzwell searched the area around her home for Strawberry, and once Strawberry’s disappearance made it to the media, Guzzwell received at least one call from a stranger, saying she thought what might have been a tortoise by the side of the road.
Guzzwell said at the time she had a feeling her pet was hiding among the trees and bushes near her home. She found Strawberry by the side of her house early Sunday morning.
“They’re tough animals and it didn’t drop below 8 C since she went missing,” Guzzwell told The Telegram.
“Still (it was) not ideal for her (and) we did have some cool nights, but I had a feeling she would be alive. She was just sitting between my house and the front steps. She went into her shell when I picked her up and didn’t come out for an hour. She never does that; she was obviously scared.”
Apart from being cold and dirty, Strawberry was fine, Guzzwell said. Once she had a bath, a long drink of water and some papaya and collard greens, she seemed ok.
This was the first time the tortoise has ever disappeared. As a part of Guzzwell’s business, Strawberry lives inside a wooden enclosure, in a room with several other reptiles, amphibians and arachnids.