Missing 150-year-old tortoise is back home

By | November 13, 2008

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Butch the tortoise, who gets around, is back home in Cupertino.

The 150-year-old reptile turned up Monday morning in the front yard of his home, following a mysterious six-week disappearance that left his owners, Penny and Chuck Carle, shell shocked.

But Butch appeared healthy and happy, and ready to begin his winter hibernation.

“Christmas came early around here,” said Penny Carle. “I didn’t believe it. It’s so good to have him home again.”

The Carles suspect that someone snatched Butch from the yard and then returned him when the reptile began growing lethargic, as tortoises do as winter approaches. But they don’t know for sure, and Butch isn’t talking.

“He went right to bed,” she said. “He wouldn’t eat the nice fresh roses we offered him, or the lettuce either. He turned up his nose. He’s ready to sleep now.”

The Carles learned their lesson, and plan to keep a closer watch on Butch from now on. Until Butch wakes up in March, he will be residing in a large box next to the washing machine, indoors and under lock and key to prevent additional tortoise-nappings.

Butch is 20 inches long and looks like a rock He has been in the Carle family since 1943, and formerly belonged to Chuck Carle’s late mother.

Before nodding off, Butch was greeted warmly by the Carles’ three dogs, Amigo, Dakota and Barney, who repeatedly licked their old friend to welcome him home.

“They’re happy as a lark about this,” Carle said. “Everybody is. It’s a wonderful day around here.” –sfgate

In 150 years, he probably learned a few tricks, like how to de-materialize.

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