Harrods-bought centenarian among tortoises needing new homes
- Credit: Ella Wilkinson
A tortoise bought from Harrods which is believed to be 100 years old is among a raft of the reptiles now hunting for a new home.
The Norfolk Tortoise Club, based in Mulbarton, has seen a post-lockdown surge in people choosing to give up looking after the pets.
The centre currently has around 25 of the shell-dwelling slowcoaches desperately in need of new homes, of varying ages, breeds and sizes, after seeing an unprecedented rise in demand for its services.
Eleanor Tirtsana, the club's founder, said: "I think a combination of factors have meant we have seen a real increase in the number of people wanting to rehome their tortoise.
"I think maybe some people have found that the pandemic has caused a change in their financial situations and they can no longer keep them and we do also have a few whose owners have passed away from Covid as well - all that adds up."
Among the tortoises in need of a new home is Elsie, who was bought from Harrods department store when she was a baby and is now believed to be 100 years old. She found herself homeless after her previous owner died from Covid-19.
And another is 70-year-old male Pickle, who has lived in Norfolk his entire life and has been passed down two generations.
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Miss Tirtsana said: "Pickle would make a lovely pet for a young family. He is a second-generation pet but his owner is now retiring and will be travelling around more so feels it would be best for him to find a new home."
The club, which offers full tuition to people wanting to take a tortoise on, has recently launched a membership scheme and its own Amazon wish-list.
Miss Tirtsana added: "If you want a pet to pick up and cuddle or come and sit on your lap, tortoises probably aren't for you, but they are so entertaining in other ways.
"It is really relaxing to watch them wander around and if you give them enough to do they're quite funny too. They are still great family pets."
For more information on how to adopt a tortoise, visit toirtoiseclub.org