FORT LAUDERDALE—A 55-pound adult Sulcata tortoise, found in Gulf County, Florida, by the Humane Society of the United States Animal Rescue Team in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, is now receiving care at South Florida Wildlife Center for a cracked shell. The rescue team found “Mikey” while delivering dog food and supplies to neighborhoods devastated by Hurricane Michael. A family had been caring for him in a temporary enclosure at their homes since finding him after the storm.
He was transferred to the Fort Lauderdale-based South Florida Wildlife Center, an affiliate of the Humane Society of the United States, on October 21 and is being treated for this non-life-threatening injury by the veterinary staff. As a Sulcata tortoise—also known as an African spurred tortoise—Mikey is a non-native species and is thought to be accustomed to living life as a pet, so he cannot be released to the wild. If his family does not come forward to claim him, the Fund for Animals Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Murchison, Texas, one of the largest animal sanctuaries in the country, is on standby to provide a new home and a lifetime of love and care for him.
Debra Parsons-Drake, executive director of South Florida Wildlife Center, said: “We help wildlife in crisis wherever and whenever we can; we’re pleased to work with our Humane Society of the United States colleagues to ensure that Mikey gets the treatment he needs for his immediate and long-term welfare. Under our expert care, we anticipate Mikey’s health will be fully restored. Should his family come forward, we’ll be delighted to reunite them; otherwise, when he is fully returned to health, we will begin to make preparations to transfer him to our sister facility.”
Sulcatas can grow to 200 pounds and 36 inches in diameter and are old as pets. Since he is no longer in his native habitat, it is important that his needs are met, and the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch, operated by the Fund for Animals, an affiliate of the Humane Society of the United States, is able to provide lifelong care for him. Reptiles cannot regulate their own temperature, so healthy environmental conditions include the ability to burrow, regulated temperature, lighting and a proper diet.