Disappearance of pet tortoise leaves local woman ‘shell shocked’

(Photo by Megan Vanselow)
By  | 

TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) Ivet Gomez of Temple doesn’t know whether her 40-pound female pet tortoise named Anita lumbered off or was stolen, but whatever the case, she wants the reptile back.

Gomez was gone from home for just 15 minutes Saturday, but returned to find Anita and her 80-pound male tortoise, Jeffrey, missing.

Jeffrey was later found about five miles from home after Shelby Michalewicz, the owner of Tiny Hooves Rescue and Petting Zoo outside of Temple from which Gomez adopted the male tortoise last year, put a post about the missing reptile on Facebook that was shared more than 800 times.

The tortoises could have escaped on their own.

Michalewicz, says they are actually very strong animals.

"It's very possible that they could've pushed their door open if it wasn't latched properly, an easy mistake that happens quite often with Sulcata tortoises."

But Gomez says she’s worried Anita may have been stolen.

To the right seller, Michalewicz says a tortoise could go for as much as $1,000.

They're remaining hopeful the reptile will turn up.

"I am not giving up I wake up every day thinking that Anita is going to be around the barn eating with her long neck,” Gomez said.