Photo Gallery | Elusive tortoise evades neighborhood dragnet
(WMC-TV) - There have been sightings recently and workers at the zoo thought they had found him at one point. However, a Germantown family is still searching for Igor, its missing Russian tortoise.
"For a tortoise, he's pretty fast," Renee West said. "He's a tortoise that thinks he's a hare."
The tortoise was a birthday gift to one of West's twin boys.
Igor has been missing since July 19 when he was left in his backyard enclosure while the West family ran an errand. Igor was gone when they returned home, but he left evidence of his escape.
Russian tortoises are notoriously good diggers and Igor is no exception. The family found the tunnels Igor dug to first escape his pen and then to go underneath the backyard fence.
Digging isn't the only thing Russian tortoises are good at. Some people might say they're rather adventurous, well, for tortoises anyway. They were the first tortoise species to experience space travel. And while Igor hasn't explored the stars, he is spending his time exploring his Devonshire Cove neighborhood.
A neighbor spotted the tortoise in her yard a week ago, but didn't realize he was a pet and returned him to the woods.
Igor wasn't seen again until Thursday morning when another neighbor saw him sunning himself in a yard.
She had seen a missing flyer the Wests had posted earlier and went to alert them. However, Igor didn't wait to be rescued. He scampered off before they returned.
Renee West says that in the weeks he's been missing, Igor has managed to travel at least 14 houses away.
Pretty fast for a tortoise who's only about 5 or 6 inches long.
For a time, the family thought that somehow, perhaps with the help of a kindly stanger, Igor had made his way to the Memphis Zoo.
They were contacted by a zoo worker after a Russian tortoise suddenly appeared on the grounds. Unfortunately, Renee West's son knew after one look that the animal wasn't Igor.
"He could tell," she said. "There were some subtle differences between that tortoise and Igor."
The human members of the West family aren't the only one's working to find him. The family has enlisted the help of their 1-year-old dog Libby in the search.
"She likes to watch him from a window when he's in his enclosure," Renee said.
In fact, Libby has rescued Igor from the outside world before.
"He got out once before and we took Libby to look for him," Renee said. "She went to him right away."
However, even Libby hasn't been able to track down her pal this time.
If you've seen Igor, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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