PEORIA — The resident reptile expert at Peoria Zoo is hoping to reunite a lost tortoise with its owner.
Doug Holmes, a zookeeper and herpetologist, was called this morning after Peoria Park District staff found a tortoise meandering along by an equipment building at Donovan Park near the intersection of Knoxville Avenue and Northmoor Road and put him into a container.
"He was just walking around," Holmes says of the critter, likely an African spurred tortoise. "I'm sure it's somebody's pet."
It's Africa's largest species of tortoise and can get up to a couple hundred pounds, Holmes said.
This one, whose name isn't known, is smaller, probably weighing around 30 pounds, Holmes estimated.
Whether it escaped, was abandoned or let go isn't clear yet.
"He definitely didn't belong at Donovan Park," he says.
It does fine in the heat, but might not survive if left outside during the winter, according to Holmes.
The tortoise has a small injury on his top-shell on the left side, but, Holmes said, "it could've been far worse. At least he didn't get run over."
Anyone with information about the tortoise's rightful home should contact Holmes at 682-3938.
Chris Kaergard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisKaergard.