Giant tortoise strolls through Wal-Mart

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By Tia Lynn Lecorchick managing editor

Wal-Mart shoppers got the rare opportunity to encounter Jerry, a 200-pound African Sulcata tortoise, who was grazing in the grass outside the store last Tuesday. A reptile rescuer passing through Georgia stopped at the Madison Wal-Mart to let his beloved traveling companion munch on a little grass before making the long trip home. Jerry, a dedicated herbivore, usually favors clovers and dandelions as his delicacy of choice. Families frequenting Wal-Mart that day gathered around Jerry, welcomed to approach the slow-moving and soft-spirited gargantuan tortoise to take pictures beside him and pet his head. Madison Animal Control Officer Cindy Wiemann showed up at the scene to take a picture and enjoy the rare opportunity. “It was pretty awesome,” said Weimann. “This kind reptile-rescuer gave Madison a cool treat.” As an avid animal-lover, Weimann was curious about what it’s like to own such a large and weighty pet. While the African Sulcata tortoises are loveable, Weimann warns people to think twice before purchasing one as a pet because of their extraordinary long lifespan. “They can live up to 150 years old,” said Weimann. “So unless you and your children are willing to make such a long commitment for pet ownership, I’d advise against it.” “But that was some fun and free entertainment for us,” said Weimann. “It’s not something you see everyday in Madison, that’s for sure.”

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