Two Riverside County Animal Services officers coaxed a tortoise from underneath its hiding spot this afternoon at a property near Temecula by using cherries.
A property owner at a rural-style property, just east of Temecula’s wine country, initially was concerned about a reptile on his property. When the property owner tried to locate where the snake went, he discovered a tortoise underneath a van. The man called Riverside County Animal Services and Officer Kyle Stephens was dispatched at 3:30 p.m. to a location on Balsamina Court, just south of Rancho California Road. Officer Stephens’ colleague, Officer Harvey Beck, heard the call over his radio and asked if Stephens would like assistance. Officer Stephens said yes, assuming that a tortoise call might require some backup if the critter was a hefty one.
It was actually Officer Beck’s tasty cherries – a common snack he keeps handy in his truck – that eventually lured the tortoise out far enough so the two men could lift the tortoise.
It is believed to be a sulcata tortoise and it weighed about 140 pounds. It was transported to the San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus where employees are hopeful the rightful owner will come to redeem his wandering pet.
Here is a link to a short video that includes some still images and short clips (including the cherry-feeding scene):