Be on the lookout for a tortoise on the run ... or, actually, on a lumbering walk.
Terry the Sulcata tortoise escaped Wednesday from his temporary enclosure at his home in the Garden District on Myrtle Avenue, said owner Carey Coxe, an environmental impact specialist at the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.
At 16 inches long and eight or so inches tall, the tan and dark brown pet has been spotted throughout his neighborhood and at the City Park golf course over six days, but he remains elusive.
“People notice him,” Coxe said. “He’s odd. He’s big enough to be noticed.”
A pet belonging to Coxe’s 19-year-old son for the past 10 years, Terry had been in his temporary pen for two weeks after the Coxe family moved to their new home. When he busted out Wednesday morning, a neighbor snapped a photo and posted the missing pet on the Craigslist classified ad website.
Another neighbor called the East Baton Rouge Parish Animal Control when Terry took refuge under a house, said Coxe, who has retraced the tortoise’s tiny footprints.
Animal control officers apprehended Terry and released him to a pond near the railroad tracks that cross the City Park golf course, Coxe said.
Releasing an ostensibly wild animal is standard procedure when the animal is not micro-chipped or tattooed in any way, said Hilton Cole, director of Animal Control.
Coxe understands why someone would call Animal Control on the tortoise: Terry’s a pretty big reptile.
“He looks pretty rough,” he said.
With all the rain, Terry, a desert tortoise who detests water and needs sunshine, is likely hunkered down under a house or a bush, Coxe said. He definitely won’t starve with all the vegetation nearby.
Meanwhile, photos of him are circulating around Facebook and Craigslist, and Coxe has posted fliers anywhere he may be seen.
“When the sun does come out in a few days,” Coxe said, “somebody will have heard of him.”
Follow Kyle Peveto on Twitter, @kylepeveto.