John: Hey hon, I'm on my way to feed the tortoise that's up on our hill some watermelon rinds. Wanna come?
Me: Yeah, sure.
Me: Um, tortoise?
And lo, there was indeed a tortoise up on the hill. A big one.
While I was snapping pictures and marveling at the not-so-wild wildlife, John went to grab the neighborhood phone directory and track down the owner of the tortoise. A few calls did it, and we learned that he belongs to a neighbor a few houses down the road.
This is Herman. He's 10 years old. Apparently Herman's an escape artist and gets out at least once a year and goes on a walk-about. He can cover some ground; our house is at least a quarter mile from where he lives. And Herman can sure move quickly. By the time our neighbor's son had come to collect him -- less than 10 minutes or so -- Herman had made his way down the hill, up our driveway, and along the side of the house to hide behind the a/c unit.
The watermelon was a hit.
Powerful forelegs, with thick scaly skin.
The shell is amazing. From above, it's like looking down at the mesas in the desert southwest.
First a llama, then a tortoise. Can't imagine what's next. If it's a cow, I may just keep it.