No matter how great the temptation, how cute they are, or whether they’re holding up traffic – never pick up a tortoise in the wild.
This I think is the greatest Grootbos lesson of all.
I’m a touchy-feely kind of girl that can’t keep my hands off creatures or trees, and am guilty of ‘trying to save’ tortoises by moving them. Now, I’m grateful to know better.
Problem is that there’s not a lot of water around and most often they are found miles away from the nearest source. When we pick them up, they urinate out of fear and as a defense mechanism, which places them at extremely high risk of dehydration.
Sad fact is that we’re potentially killing them. A lesson I will heed from now on. Avoid the temptation to touch. Conservation first.