Monday, June 14, 2010

A bolt of Lightening

This morning, while feeding the horses, the neighbors asked me if I'd seen Lightening Bolt, their giant African tortoise. He'd escaped their lovingly-tended Alpaca farm and was on the lam.

LB's usual MO is to auger down by a tree at night, then forage for vegetation once the sun comes out. We checked by every tree in the pasture and made sure none of the big rocks were him.

Fortunately, several years ago, I took an animal tracking seminar from Kat Albrecht--a former police K9 unit tracker turned Pet Detective--on finding lost pets. She uses a bloodhound to track lost pets, but taught us the principles of tracking and escaped animal behavior. Instinctively, I went to the coolest, greenest part of the pasture and sure enough, found a trail where the grasses were smashed down and followed it. Mr. Bolt had gone down a steep bank toward a creek. He must have slipped, because we found him at the bottom of the hill, upside down on his back--a position that can mean death to the giant African tortoise within hours.

Kathy hoisted him back upright and thanked me profusely. John brought the golf cart down to carry him home where he was promptly hosed off and returned to his pen.  

Now the question is: epoxy a flag to his shell, or put a GPS on him? Apparently, he's gotten out before. It seems that in the springtime, a young turtle's fancy turns to thoughts of love. I guess that goes for old tortoises, too.

So, that was today's adventure on 40 acres. It was thrilling for me to be able to help out on the search for Lightening Bolt, but even more exciting to play a part in finding him and saving his life.


Anonymous said...

Kim Freeman, Turtle Detective.

Freelance Freeman said...

Boy, I am sure to be slammed with business, right?

Breathe said...

Glad he had you as a guardian angel.

Julie Wickert said...

Wow, I'm so glad you found Lightening Bolt! Funny - I have a friend who hired a pet detective (shades of Ace Ventura) to find her golden retriever. Her story of pet detective Bonnie Hale (which she wrote up for Moxie Magazine) is really interesting. Great story, Kim.