Giant African Spurred Tortoise visits SA park, but no one knows how it got there

Walter O’Hare was recued by Animal Care Services last week

A North Side park had a very unlikely visitor early last week -- a 50-pound African Spurred Tortoise -- and it’s still unclear how it got there. (Animal Care Services/KSAT)

SAN ANTONIO – A North Side park had a very unlikely visitor early last week -- a 50-pound African Spurred Tortoise -- and it’s still unclear how it got there.

According to San Antonio Animal Care Services, Walter O’ Hare, the tortoise in question, was found by a few Good Samaritans on Aug. 7 while taking a stroll along Phil Hardberger Park.

These kinds of tortoises are not native to San Antonio, so ACS believes it may be someone’s pet that wandered off, or was let loose.

ACS officers found Walter on a park trail, but it took both of them to carry him and put him into their transport vehicle, due to his size and weight. He was later taken to Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation, Inc. in Kendalia for further care.

“We always recommend doing proper research before committing to any pet. African Spurred Tortoises can weigh over 100 lbs and live up to 70 years old! Choosing one as a companion is a LIFETIME commitment and should not be done so lightly,” ACS said. “While we are unsure if Walter was let loose or simply wandered away from home, we are glad he is getting the love and care he deserves now that he is with Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation, Inc.”

According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, the only tortoise that is native to Texas is the Texas Tortoise. It’s the smallest of the North American tortoises and it can live as long as 60 years.

You can learn more about the Texas Tortoise here.

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About the Author:

Cody King is a digital journalist for KSAT 12. She previously worked for WICS/WRSP 20 in Springfield, Illinois.