In 2012, the Alamogordo owner of a 35-pound desert tortoise discovered that the critter had figured out how to push open a gate in his back yard. The tortoise, off on an unknown adventure, could not be found anywhere.
Imagine the surprise of the owner when a week and one-half later he got a call from a golf course in Ruidoso — about 45 miles away — to say the tortoise had showed up on one of the course’s greens. The news report of the incident had no mention of how the animal and its owner were identified.
What’s more baffling is how quickly the lumbering Gopherus agassizii (scientific name) managed to cover the distance to Ruidoso in such a short time. By my rough calculation, it covered about 4.5 miles per day — a lot even for a guy like me.
Maybe it was picked up off the street in Alamogordo and dumped off near Ruidoso when its captors discovered it did not have a pleasing personality. Maybe it snuck aboard a vehicle and clung to its undercarriage until falling off somewhere near the golf course.
At any rate, the critter wasn’t talking and was probably glad to be back in its yard, surrounded by extra security measures and contemplating a book with movie rights about the adventure.