A New Bedford woman was frantic that she might have lost her pet tortoise, Tony. Lucky for her, Tony wasn't going anywhere too fast.

It's not every day you meet someone with a pet tortoise. That's right -- a tortoise, not a turtle. There is a difference, as I recently came to learn from Serena Hutchings of New Bedford.

Tortoises aren’t equipped for water and live completely on land, while turtles tend to live or spend most of their time in the water. Tortoises stay away from water, except for when they drink or bathe because they can’t swim. A tortoise will also have a thicker domed shell and a much longer lifespan. A tortoise on average can have a lifespan of 90 years, Hutchings said.

How did Hutchings come to own a tortoise? This special guy arrived all the way from Africa. Hutchings ordered him online. Tony is a leopard tortoise, so-called for his beautiful markings.

Serena Hutchings Facebook
Serena Hutchings Facebook

So, what happened with Tony, the 25-year-old pet tortoise normally right at home in New Bedford with Hutchings?

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Hutchings usually let's Tony roam around her backyard. Since the yard is normally fenced in, Hutchings knows Tony is safe. Well, this past week, Hutchings' sister let Tony out and was the last to see him.

When Hutchings learned Tony was gone, she took to Facebook hoping and wishing someone had seen her tortoise. After all, Tony can only travel so fast. He couldn't be too far away.

An anonymous woman called animal control and reported that she had seen some kids trying to put Tony in the Acushnet River, which, as we know, would not be a good idea.

Two days later, Tony was returned to his owner, but the mystery remains: How did Tony the tortoise get out?

"I have a fenced in yard, with gates you have to open to enter and exit the driveway," Hutchings said.

Serena thinks maybe someone came by and grabbed Tony thinking they were going to try and rescue him.

We are glad Tony is home where he belongs -- and glad we all learned the differences between a tortoise and a turtle.

Endangered Sea Turtles Released Back into Atlantic Ocean

The Mystic Aquarium Animal Rescue Team saw another set of rehabilitated animals returned to their ocean home recently with the release of five endangered sea turtles down in North Carolina.
One loggerhead sea turtle and four Kemp’s ridley sea turtles were the aquarium's part of a 26-sea-turtle release from four different animal rescues across the Northeast. See these endangered animals as they returned to their ocean home after months of treatment for their cold-stunning damage suffered in Cape Cod Bay.

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