Tortoise found roaming in Clissold Park
I don’t normally post stories about my life, this isn’t that type of blog but today is different and today’s story is tragic.
As some of you may remember, on the day we relaunched this site the first post referenced the news that my pet tortoise, Hermes had been stolen overnight. Well following on from that we informed all the authorities we could think of and produced posters pleading for information, which we spread around the neighbourhood, libraries and anywhere else we could think of.
Then this morning, exactly 4 weeks later at 10:50am I received an incredibly encouraging call from a woman whose 6 year old daughter had found a tortoise lost in Clissold park! They handed it in to the park rangers to look after, remembered seeing one of the posters we had put up and decided to give me a call!
Obviously I was excited that somehow Hermes had escaped his captors, or maybe they had had a change of heart and decided to let him go so I dashed down on my bike to the rangers office barely stopping to lock the door. Unfortunately but not unpredictably, it wasn’t Hermes, it was instead a really very cute 1 or 2 year old baby Horsefield tortoise and she was in terrible condition. She must have been out alone in the park for a couple of nights as her front legs had been mostly chewed away by rats leaving only a single claw on her front right paw, plenty of exposed bone and tissue and her wounds were covered in flies eggs. The rangers were more than happy to give her to me to look after and I immediately took her to the local herp vet some miles away for an emergency appointment.
She never complained, kept trying to walk, was alert and thirsty and was utterly adorable… I even had a name picked out if it turned out that I could save her. Sadly after waiting some time and then observing a careful examination, the vet was of the opinion that she had lost too much bone and tissue and was likely to suffer from infections and lose both her front legs. She’d been through too much to continue and the decision was made that she had to be put down. He was right, it was the right thing to do but it was incredibly hard. So sadly now Hermes is still missing, though presumed alive and there’s one less tortoise in the world, 120 years of potential snuffed out by a careless owner who let their tortoise escape and fend for itself against London rats.
Sorry about being so down, I just love tortoises and today was really tough for me. I hope in some way that this story might prompt others to take better care of theirs. An image of the damage can be found here, not a happy image so feel free not to click.