DeKALB – Slow and steady might win the race, but the owner of 17-year-old Henry, an African sulcata tortoise, says chillier fall temperatures could spell danger for his missing pet.
Jerry Seablom, 49, of DeKalb, said Henry went missing Tuesday after a friend accidentally left the back gate open in Seablom’s backyard, where Henry lives in the summer months.
“The thing is, that’s what they do, they walk in their natural environment,” Seablom said Thursday. “They just constantly walk. He can be pretty fast.”
As temperatures fall, Seablom usually keeps Henry inside his home, where the turtle lived with Seablom and his family family for 17 years after Seablom got Henry, also known as an African spurred tortoise, as a hatchling from a specialty reptile shop in Wheaton.
“I would normally have him inside by now because it’s kind of too cold for him,” Seablom said. He’s asking for the public’s help in locating Henry.
A neighbor found Henry Tuesday in his backyard heading towards Annie Glidden Road, and called DeKalb Park District staff to ask if they could drop Henry off at at River Heights golf course, thinking he was a wild reptile, said Jeff Cameron, the district’s golf maintenance superintendent.
“He drove it to the golf course, and said ‘Can I drop him off here?’,” Cameron said. “So I said sure, and we took him out by our irrigation pond, set him on the bank and away he went.”
Oaken Acres Wildlife Center is also helping search for the tortoise, and anyone who spots Henry is encouraged to call the center, who will reach out to Seablom, at 815-895-9666.
Seablom warns anyone who finds Henry to handle him with care, and not place him in water because he is not an aquatic reptile. Seablom said Henry isn’t one to bite.
“He’s not a water tortoise, so he will drown very easily in water,” Seablom warned. “If you find him, you just need to contain him as best you can. He’s very heavy, around 50-60 pounds, so you have to be really careful because if you drop him you crack his shell.”
Source: The Daily Chronicle