New DH calendar
Article posted: 8/1/2013 4:39 PM

Wildwood man searches for his missing exotic pet tortoise

This is Babe, a 17-year-old, 45-pound pet African spur thigh tortoise, that has been missing since he escaped from his Wildwood home July 17.

This is Babe, a 17-year-old, 45-pound pet African spur thigh tortoise, that has been missing since he escaped from his Wildwood home July 17.

 

Courtesy of Wayne Viehweg

Babe, the missing African spur thigh tortoise owned by the Viehweg family in Wildwood, is harmless, cannot swim, eats only fruits and vegetables and cannot survive temperatures much below 50 degrees.

Babe, the missing African spur thigh tortoise owned by the Viehweg family in Wildwood, is harmless, cannot swim, eats only fruits and vegetables and cannot survive temperatures much below 50 degrees.

 

Courtesy of Wayne Viehweg

 1 of 2 
 
text size: AAA
By Conor Morris

Babe is on the loose and Wayne Viehweg would like to get him back.

Babe is a 17-year-old, 45-pound pet African spur thigh tortoise that made a daring escape July 17 from his enclosure behind Viehweg's Wildwood home on Big Oaks Road.

Advertisement

The tortoise had been living in a 20-foot by 5-foot area surrounded by chain link fence that includes a doghouse repurposed as a "tortoisehouse."

"He was able to bust through it (the fence)," Viehweg said. "African spur thigh tortoises of his size are extremely strong and persistent. They can push through plywood if they have enough time."

Viehweg said he's heard of some sightings of the tortoise since its escape, but he's been unable to locate Babe.

On July 18, Viehweg said, some children playing soccer had told him they saw Babe at Twin Lakes Park in Wildwood.

A day later Viehweg got a call from a neighbor who said they saw the tortoise on the side of the road near Belvidere Road and Mill Street in Wildwood. Two women apparently stopped, put the tortoise in their car and drove away.

Viehweg said that was the last time he's heard any sighting of Babe. He hasn't found any information about the car or the women who took him.

"My wife has literally been sick because we don't have him back," he said. "I've done very little the past few weeks other than work and sleep and look for the tortoise."

Tortoises like Babe -- which can grow to be the largest of any species of mainland tortoise in the world -- reside in the southern edges of the Sahara Desert. Viehweg said he found Babe when he and his wife were at a fair 17 years ago and fell in love with him.

When Viehweg's family first got the reptile, it was the size of a silver dollar. His daughter, 2 years old at the time, was the one who decided "Babe" was a good name for a tortoise. Babe is now around 18 inches in diameter.

Anyone with information about Babe can call the Lake County Sheriff's office at (847) 377-4000 and mention Viehwig's name.

Viehweg said those in contact with the exotic pet should understand it is completely harmless, cannot swim, eats only fruits and vegetables and cannot survive temperatures much below 50 degrees.

"I just hope the people who picked him up are animal lovers, know what he is and have some intention of alerting authorities," he said.

Comments ()
We are now using Facebook comments to offer a more inclusive, social and constructive discussion. Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.

This article filed under

Latest Video

MostViewed

Today
Yesterday
Most Commented
Top Jobs

    View all Top Jobs Place a job ad

    MarketsReport

    DHExtras

       
    • Newspaper next section - Newspaper next section Report card checker - report card checker
    • Dh innovation award 2 - Dh innovation award 2 Zillow /real estate page
    • Discuss refer On Guard series
    • Newspaper archives -- Monday or anyday Mike North

    FacebookActivity

    BusinessDirectory

    Connect with a business or service in your area fast. First select a town, then enter a search term or choose one of the listed popular searches:

    Don't see your town listed? Visit our full directory to begin your search.