Giant tortoise reined in after year on the lam

This is a story about a tortoise. There is no hare – unless you consider last Sunday’s hair-raising experience of Holden Radicke of Uvalde and his two young sons when they drove upon a 70-pound tortoise ambling down the middle of Highway 55 near 19 mile crossing.

According to Radicke, the giant reptile could not have been walking more directly down the center stripe of the highway. The surprised motorist pulled over immediately to examine what turned out to be an African spurred tortoise and then phoned game warden Dennis Gazaway with Texas Parks and Wildlife.

“I asked the game warden what to do with him, and he told me to bring it to town,” Radicke said. “About that time another car stopped, which is a good thing because I could not have lifted it by myself.”

Radicke, who said he has handled plenty of bags of corn in his life, estimated that the giant tortoise weighed significantly more than a sack of feed.

Back in town, Gazaway came by to eyeball the reptile and shared a video of a tortoise that had disappeared a year ago from the former Morani River Ranch, located near Chalk Bluff off of Highway 55.

The men concurred that the tortoise in their custody looked like the missing animal, and Gazaway returned the creature to property owner Glenn Staack that evening. The story took another bizarre twist after a friend of Radicke’s reported seeing a similar giant tortoise that was being treated at a local vet clinic the following morning.

Radicke said the account he heard is that Staack had a pair of the tortoises and after the escapee was returned this week it attacked its stay-at-home partner. Radicke insisted that he couldn’t warrant that part of the tale.

In the meantime, the two Radicke sons, 6-year-old Pierce and Riley, 4, have a story for the ages.



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