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Taken/stolen star tortoise

AnnV

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Jul 10, 2013
Messages
909
Location (City and/or State)
SWFL
I am looking for advice on trying to get a Geochelone elegans back.
I moved to Florida 5.5 years ago, my torts moved outside, and I have been kind of inactive here on the forum, for years.
But my world has spontaneously become dark and wrought with despair and worry.
Friday night when I went in search of my little Jeffrey, in his 25'x15' cinderblock enclosure, he wasn't to be found. I put them in their heated house every night.
I've now lost several nights sleep, and spent all available hours searching and putting together flyers with REWARD announcement for his return.
Are there any happy endings people can share?!
We live on 6 acres in a nice equestrian community. Hardly anyone drives down our long 800' drive, except delivery ppl. Although I still work full time, my husband is retired and home most days. Unfortunately, he was gone all friday afternoon. We did have deliveries that day.
Cameras on porch, but not directly on tort pen, which is right next to porch.
I may be rambling....I am just so distraught.
The only other possibility, which I hate to think of, is a predator attack. But there was no sign of that. And my much larger redfoot was fine and unbothered.
Any advice on further detective work.
Oh how I regret not having cameras on them. :'(
 

Quadro

Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2020
Messages
96
Location (City and/or State)
SC
I am looking for advice on trying to get a Geochelone elegans back.
I moved to Florida 5.5 years ago, my torts moved outside, and I have been kind of inactive here on the forum, for years.
But my world has spontaneously become dark and wrought with despair and worry.
Friday night when I went in search of my little Jeffrey, in his 25'x15' cinderblock enclosure, he wasn't to be found. I put them in their heated house every night.
I've now lost several nights sleep, and spent all available hours searching and putting together flyers with REWARD announcement for his return.
Are there any happy endings people can share?!
We live on 6 acres in a nice equestrian community. Hardly anyone drives down our long 800' drive, except delivery ppl. Although I still work full time, my husband is retired and home most days. Unfortunately, he was gone all friday afternoon. We did have deliveries that day.
Cameras on porch, but not directly on tort pen, which is right next to porch.
I may be rambling....I am just so distraught.
The only other possibility, which I hate to think of, is a predator attack. But there was no sign of that. And my much larger redfoot was fine and unbothered.
Any advice on further detective work.
Oh how I regret not having cameras on them. :'(
I am terribly sorry to hear you are going through this I hope you get a happy ending. I definitely will be getting cameras for mine once I get them back outside!
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
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Jan 23, 2008
Messages
83,900
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
Aw geez. I'm so sorry. This is my worry also when there are strangers about, like delivery people or a worker hired to do a job on the property. A lot of the time, when we read stories like yours, it turns out the tortoise had just hidden really well inside the pen, or he had climbed out and was found later. Let's hope for a happy ending to your story.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
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Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
That sucks. How over grown is the pen? I've spent a lot of time looking for tortoises in their own pens and not found them, even though they were still there. Keep searching the surrounding area too.

Review the footage from your door cam. Good chance that you would catch someone showing interest and looking in that direction. Might give you some place to start asking.

People regularly get their tortoises back. Tortoises are occasionally stolen, but most of the time they escape on their own. Predators can also nab them, but the likelihood of this decreases with size. Certainly possible that a raccoon grabbed it and carried it away, but not likely either.

We are just guessing at this point. I hope you find him.
 

Relic

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2018
Messages
256
Location (City and/or State)
In the sunny south...
I may be repeating what you have already done, but I would slowly search the enclosure looking for a possible escape route, i.e. a plant that has grown large enough next to the wall to provide a climbing escape route. The possibility of one tortoise climbing over the other and suddenly being high enough to escape over the wall (I don't know the height of your wall), etc. I had a couple of box turtles that kept escaping their pen and I looked for days trying to figure out their escape method, until I finally caught one in the act. I have an iron gate (tilted at an angle toward the pen - no latch) that is one railroad tie higher than the surrounding ground. The little bugger had managed to pull himself up onto the railroad tie and nudge the gate open and vamoose. I now have a bungee cord on the gate and have occasionally found the turtle up on the tie with his head stretched through the metal bars longing for the promised land...

Just don't give up.
 

AnnV

Active Member
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5 Year Member
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Joined
Jul 10, 2013
Messages
909
Location (City and/or State)
SWFL
Yes, torts could be seen from the porch. I used to have dog ex-pen fencing held by stakes, until recently. But last summer my husband put up a two cinder block + topper wall. Easy for humans or dogs to hop over, but impossible for the torts to scale. We have one section that is still fencing. I found no breaching or signs of digging. One Bush over there, but I don't see anyway he could have climbed it to get out. It is not growing up against the fence, except for some very low branches. One of his favorite hiding spots.
There are some weeds and overgrowth, but believe me I have now flattened it all out. I continue to look, look, look, but our temps in FL have plummeted last night, and now my anxiety level is sky high.
No one would be a happier person if I were to find out he simply escaped. I think I will check that area out. We have fencing still because it is rather thick with palm trees and bushes, and cinder block would not fit or sit evenly on that side.

This video taken just the day before he went missing.
He shares the pen with my much bigger redfoot. I know this is frowned upon, but they have been together since we moved to FL. I sold the sister redfoot a few years ago because of bullying, but Lexi and Jeffrey have always gotten along very well. I can take my whacks for that.
Jeffrey is about 7 or 8, bought at nearly 2 years, after his gender was discovered, and previous owner didn't want a male. Lexi is 9 years, purchased as a hatchling in early 2011.
Thank you all for sympathies. I knew there would be an understanding of the true horror of losing an adored tort here. Family and friends just can't relate to how someone can love a reptile. I guess.
Do you all think a theft report is proper? Can't be sure because of possible predation by a wild animal. Or escape. I have been passing flyers out to delivery agencies, UPS, USPO, FedEx. I need to catch a Prime driver. Not sure where their base is locally.20200121_095311.jpg
We live in an HOA equestrian community. Long driveway off a cul de sac, off a long country road.
The only strangers who'd come around would be delivery peeps.
We had workers on our roof earlier this year. But they'd have to have stalking behavior to know when both my hubs and I are gone.
 

Tony the Tort42

Active Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2020
Messages
232
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
I would check every last place he could be before theft report. And it still might be a predator... Im really sorry, ive lost pets before (geckos and birds) as well. 2 out of 4 times I lost hatchlings, I find them on curtains. I lost my pet chicken to a cat, I still remember the black cat over my chickens silver feathers. Around how much does Jeff way? I would look around your property and see if a predator got him... And im sure no ones going to frown at you keeping them together, it sounds like they were good buds. Once again, im really sorry, I wish I could help.
 

Carol S

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Joined
Jun 2, 2009
Messages
2,501
Location (City and/or State)
Alta Loma, CA
I am so sorry that Jeffrey is missing. I hope you get him safely back.

I would check Craigslist, etc. to see if anyone is trying to sell him.
 

theTurtleRoom

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Nov 5, 2012
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410
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Lititz, PA
Years ago when I lived in Florida our Sulcata managed to get over his enclosure wall and disappear. We put up fliers and eventually a neighbor reported seeing him being picked up by a construction crew foreman who mistook him for a Gopher tortoise as he wandered down the sidewalk. (Why their policy was to remove Gophers they found was beyond my caring at the time) We were able to get in contact with them and they returned him the next day!

So yes, there are certainly situations where lost tortoises make their way home! Hoping that your Star turns up soon!
 

ZEROPILOT

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Jul 16, 2014
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South Eastern Florida (U.S.A.)/Rock Hill S.C.
The only escapee tortoise I ever had was captured days later trying to break back in.
Leave some fruit out in an open area. It may lure him back.
Also, tell neighborhood kids about the reward. If there are any. They are the prime suspects and the best at finding an escapee.
I truly hope you find your tortoise.
Most of these stories end well.
 

Animals1315

New Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2019
Messages
7
Location (City and/or State)
New York
I don't think he was taken stolen, he might have run off or be avoiding you and then making himself a burry. My tortoise escaped this July he's full grown a Russian but kept leaving me bathrooms and ate a bunch of plants. He's now hibernating underground from what I've been told I'll find him in the spring. It's winter here and there's snow on the ground and I couldn't get straight answers with google searching this form is great. Basically everyone said he's going to survive and I'll find him in the spring. You can put out a water dish or maybe some extremely tempting food which probably won't work as it didn't for me. To many other more enticing plants. Mine was not fencing it he was on the deck so I'm thinking my cat pushed him off, we have woods and a lot of predators but he's really smart tortoises are really smart how else would they have survived past the dinosaurs? You'll find him eventually. Check you see if he's left you any evidence probably has, some bathrooms, food, digging spots which might not be easy to find. There burrows are always well hidden. You'll find him at somepoint!
 

Redfoot mom

New Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2017
Messages
24
I am looking for advice on trying to get a Geochelone elegans back.
I moved to Florida 5.5 years ago, my torts moved outside, and I have been kind of inactive here on the forum, for years.
But my world has spontaneously become dark and wrought with despair and worry.
Friday night when I went in search of my little Jeffrey, in his 25'x15' cinderblock enclosure, he wasn't to be found. I put them in their heated house every night.
I've now lost several nights sleep, and spent all available hours searching and putting together flyers with REWARD announcement for his return.
Are there any happy endings people can share?!
We live on 6 acres in a nice equestrian community. Hardly anyone drives down our long 800' drive, except delivery ppl. Although I still work full time, my husband is retired and home most days. Unfortunately, he was gone all friday afternoon. We did have deliveries that day.
Cameras on porch, but not directly on tort pen, which is right next to porch.
I may be rambling....I am just so distraught.
The only other possibility, which I hate to think of, is a predator attack. But there was no sign of that. And my much larger redfoot was fine and unbothered.
Any advice on further detective work.
Oh how I regret not having cameras on them. :'(
I have lost my tortoise twice and paid rewards when found. He has been missing for days and then turns up when. The sun is shining. There have been a couple times I was sure he was lost but found no possible way he could have gotten out. Then rechecked the bushes thoroughly and found him bedded down so tight in the middle of a rose Bush. So i am really hoping he turns up for you. Best of luck and sending prayers your way.
 

carol quackenbos

New Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2019
Messages
4
Location (City and/or State)
stuart florida
Try carefully digging in the enclosure with a rake. I thought my Russian tortoise had escaped. but he was just half buried in a way that made him very hard to find.

Also putting his favorite food treat (mine loves strawberries) outside the enclosure might lure him back if he did escape.

I hope you find him!!
 

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