- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 1, 2015

HAWKS, Mich. (AP) - While traveling between Lake Nettie and Lake May in Hawks one recent afternoon, Jode Paull saw something on the side of the road that caught his eye. He stopped his pickup to investigate, and discovered an odd looking tortoise, definitely not locally known, and took it home to find out what it was.

Paull learned he had found an African spurred tortoise, native to the southern edge of the Sahara desert and northern Africa, a breed that did not belong in northern Michigan.

“I saw it there, and noticed right away that something about it was different,” Paull told The Alpena News ( https://bit.ly/1Vdyevz ). “It had a very different looking shell and had odd looking front flippers instead of feet.”

When Paull learned what type of tortoise it was, he knew it was a long way from home.

“I called someone from the (Department of Natural Resources) and they said the tortoise more than likely had been a pet that someone dropped off somewhere,” Paull said. “We aren’t sure how old he is, but he’s definitely a different creature. We want to see it taken care of somewhere like at a zoo or with someone who knows how to take care of him.”

Since picking the tortoise up, Paull and his family have made an enclosure to keep it from wandering away and keep it fed and watered. They put together a makeshift pen for the tortoise in the backyard using wooden pallets and have been feeding it cabbage and other garden vegetables, as well as grass, to keep it alive while the DNR finds a place for it.

According to Paull, the DNR was working to find a placement for the tortoise to live in a more comfortable environment. Paull said he did some research and found out the species can live up to and beyond 100 years. This tortoise was only around 15 pounds, but the age of the tortoise was not yet determined.


Information from: The Alpena News, https://www.thealpenanews.com

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