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African tortoise missing in Georgia, may be seeking a mate

Sept. 19, 2013 at 1:38 PM

CARLTON, Ga., Sept. 19 (UPI) -- A Georgia couple whose 17-year-old tortoise vanished from their yard said they believe their pet left in search of a mate.

Susan and Kerry Fisher said African Spur Thigh tortoise, Zip, forced his way through their backyard fence Friday in Carlton and may have gone trekking through the woods behind their house in search of a female tortoise, the Athens (Ga.) Banner-Herald reported Thursday.

"We actually hired a professional tracker with tracking dogs and they searched all day and couldn't find him," Susan Fisher said Wednesday. "I feel obligated to do whatever I can do to get him back because he will not survive the winter in Georgia."

She said this time of year, when mornings are cooler, is breeding season for Zip.

Fisher said she worries about the wrong people finding the 50-pound tortoise.

"A lot of people in Madison County eat turtles," she said. "They make turtle mull. So it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibilities that someone would pick him up for that."

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