Giant Tortoise Holes Up in Bronx Backyard

Woman finds 60-pound turtle on her property

Imagine coming home to find a massive tortoise likes your shell as much as its own.

One woman got the shock of her life yesterday when she came home to find a tortoise – not a little teensy weensy turtle you may find in a brook or creek, but a giant reptile the size of a small child – camped out in her Bronx backyard.

It’s not clear how the 60-pound turtle named “Shelly” has been surviving alone in the Bronx, but the warm weather probably helped. Most land-dwelling tortoises eat grass, weeds, leafy greens and flowers. Some survive on bugs. The animals can live up to 150 years, but officials are still trying to determine Shelly’s birthday.

The two-and-a-half foot long creature was found Tuesday afternoon in a backyard on Harper Avenue in the Baychester area of the Bronx. Chances of escape for Shelly were slim after the homeowner discovered her den. Tortoises that live on land only travel about 0.17 miles per hour.

Shelly is being cared for at the Animal Care & Control Manhattan Center.

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