Friday, September 24, 2010

Haveluck's Excellent Adventure

From the Chatham Chatlist #3829 - Sept 14, 2010:

Subject: Lost 40 lb. tortoise

I'm posting for a neighbor whose 40 lb., 18 inch long tortoise escaped from her pen about a week ago in the xxxxxx community. She could be far away by now. She looks like a miniature giant tortoise that you have all seen pictures of, from the Galapagos Islands. She is harmless to people and other animals, NOT a snapper. She is tan, brown and unfortunately, a perfect match to the leaves that are now falling. If the temperature gets below 50 degrees, she could die.

Who knows what direction she took off in, so please keep an eye out for her in xxxxxx, of course, and around Sugar Lake, Mt. Gilead Church Road, along the pathway that follows the Haw from the bridge on 64 to Bynum, and along Bynum Ridge Road to Bynum and everywhere in between or maybe beyond.

If she is spotted please e-mail or call me and I'll pick her up. (nnn)nnn-nnnn

Thanks, K

It was a tough week in the neighborhood. Haveluck was on the lam.

And it seems it wasn't the first time. Eight years ago she was found trucking along Interstate 70, near Havelock, North Carolina. Locals, unable to find her owners, brought the forty pound Saraha Desert native to the NC State School of Veterinary Medicine where our neighbors, B and G, devoted animal lovers, ultimately adopted her.

Since then, Haveluck - word play on the name of the town near which she was found and the dose of good fortune that she must certainly carry with her - has lived happily here in these Piedmont woods, wintering in B and G's house and summering under their back deck, restrained by plastic latticework. That is, until she decided to go "walk about" again.

Earlier this month, our neighbors returned home from work to find a hole in the latticework and Haveluck gone. Hopes that she remained close by were dashed when they also found a breach in their deer fencing, a furrow dug at a low spot, where the tortoise had apparently completed her great escape.

Haveluck's kind predate the dinosaurs and her appearance is certainly prehistoric. A mere 40 pound teenager, she can live to be 75-to-100 years old and grow to be 70 pounds - no doubt a formidable sight cruising through the woods or along the highway. And she can cruise, able to move that large frame at surprising speeds in short bursts.

A desert creature, she hates water, acquiring her moisture through the foods she eats - her favorites being romaine lettuce and watermelon which she can eat in great quantities. A prolonged temperature of 50 degrees or less would do her in so, as the days passed our confidence that she would be found, alive, dwindled.

From the Chatham Chatlist #3832 - Sept 19, 2010:

Subject: Tortoise is home !!!

Here is a note from the lost tortoise's "mom 'n pop":

Thanks to a network of friends and caring people Haveluck is home again after ten days on the road. We can't quite put together the journey but I picked her up from a wonderful family in Bear Creek(18 miles from here). If only she could talk, what a tale she might tell. For now she seems content to eat her head of romaine lettuce, one of her favorite treats. Don't imagine she found a lot of wild romaine on her trek!

Thank you everyone for your efforts. We are so grateful to have her back.

B & G

After 10 days AWOL, the call seemed a miracle. Haveluck was found, safe and sound, 18 miles from home, in the small community of Bear Creek. We may never know how she got there for between here and there is a river, a handful of major roadways, and the busy town of Pittsboro. She may have been picked up, carried, and released or lost again, but, watching her scoot around the deck, I have no doubt she could have gotten that far on her own during her 10 day adventure. It's fun, though, to imagine her hitching a ride on a produce truck or startling travelers as she sped across the Haw River bridges, on her way to who knows where.

Whatever the story, B and G, and the entire neighborhood, were glad to have her home once again and held a Welcome Home Haveluck party to celebrate her return.

Have I ever mentioned what a great place we live in?


Unknown said...

She looks a bit ticked in that last pic. They are going to have to put up guard towers and stop watching Stalag17 or the Great Escape and TCM at night.

Michael Agneta said...

That's one slippery tortoise! Very cool post, glad it had a happy ending.

Ryan said...

What a cool looking tortoise! I'm going to have to show my little girl tomorrow. She will freak!

The Average Joe Fisherman