Ranger Finds African Tortoise

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – An African Tortoise was found in Bibb County.

David Fisher, a ranger for the Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division, found the tortoise at an intersection on Sardis Church Rd. and Goodall Mill Rd.

He thought he found a Gopher Tortoise, which is the state reptile, but realized soon he didn’t.

“Once I got a little bit closer, I realized it’s something like I’d never seen before,” Fisher said.”I knew at that point it was time to do some research and figure out where he was, well what he was, and where he needed to go.”

Fisher found out the tortoise was an African Sulcata Tortoise. His name is Douglas The Tank.

Sharron Cornacchione now takes care of him at the Museum of Arts and Sciences.

“He is amazing. We named him Douglas because that was David’s wife’s grandfather’s name, but his nickname is Tank because he’s like a little tank because he bulldozes through everything,” Cornacchione said.

She thinks Tank is about 10 years old.He weighs between 50 to 60 pounds and can grow up to 200 pounds, but the museum plans on keeping him.

“We’re in the process of redoing the back outside area of our mini zoo and it’s gonna be a large pavilion out there. We’re gonna have animal enclosures, so we’re gonna make an area for him,” she said.
Until then, tank lives outside in a cage they made for him. He sleeps inside the soon to be lemur cage at night to keep him safe.

But how did Douglas The Tank end up in America?

“I do believe he probably was someone’s pet and he either escaped or they just realized how big he was getting so they just turned him loose,” Cornacchione said.

Regardless of how he got in the street, Fisher said Tank is where he needs to be.

“The outcome couldn’t have been any better so he’s in good hands now. He’ll be taken care of,” he said.
So Douglas The Tank can now call the museum’s mini-zoo home.

The difference between a tortoise and a turtle is that a tortoise lives on land, while a turtle lives mostly in the water. They also have different feet. Turtles feet are webbed to help them swim and tortoises feet are short and sturdy to help them dig holes.