Spring Township police hunt for missing tortoise

Teddy, owned by Margaret Cook, is a Russian tortoise that was reported stolen on Saturday.
Teddy, owned by Margaret Cook, is a Russian tortoise that was reported stolen on Saturday. Photo provided

Spring Township police are investigating the weekend disappearance of a female Russian tortoise.

The 5-year-old tortoise, named Teddy, was reported missing Saturday. Her owner, Margaret Cook, said she last saw Teddy about 1 p.m. in an outdoor pen beside her West Water Street home. Cook said she went to a graduation party and found Teddy missing when she returned.

Cook said she believes that Teddy could not have gotten out of her enclosure by herself. Tortoises are capable of digging, but there were no marks in the yard to indicate that she tunneled under the pen and the pen is constructed in a way to prevent that, Cook said. She said she never witnessed Teddy try to climb out and doesn’t believe that she would be capable of getting out that way.

The pen also has two doors on top, one of which was ajar when she returned, Cook said.

“We just assume she was taken,” Cook said.

Cook is concerned about the diet, nutritional supplements, and lighting and heating requirements Teddy needs to survive. Russian tortoises can only eat certain fruits and vegetables and need vitamins and minerals added to their diet, and whoever might have her might not know the amount of care required, Cook said.

Cook contacted Spring Township police about Teddy’s disappearance. Detective Dale Moore said the department is treating the case as a theft.

Teddy’s shell is yellowish with brown markings, and she is about 8 inches long, 5 inches wide and 21/2 pounds, Cook said. Cook is also offering a reward for her return.

Anyone who has further information or knows someone who has a newly acquired adult tortoise or tries to sell or offer one, is asked to contact Spring Township police at 800-479-0050.