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Tortoise on the loose: Group bands together to get Marmalade safely home

Posted at 4:11 PM, Sep 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-08 09:30:27-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — An escape artist wandered the city of Corpus Christi Thursday morning. Marmalade the tortoise escaped from her home by digging a hole under the fence.

"I went out about nine a.m. to go feed her and I see her enclosure is tipped up and I’m like, 'oh no'," owner Elizabeth Burkes said.

Burkes has had Marmalade as a pet for a couple of weeks since Marmalade wandered her way to the family's house.

"At first she was a little bit spicy but she's gotten pretty used to everything," Burkes said.

Marmalade also wandered her way into the family's hearts. Once Burkes realized Marmalade was nowhere to be found, she headed for social media, where the Facebook group Rescues United 361 Network spread the word.

"I’m panicking and I saw that she was by the highway, so I comment on the lady’s post and she gets me in contact with the guy who had her. They had me identify her and that was how I got her back," Burkes said.

Marmalade is a Sulcata tortoise. Sulcata tortoises are the third largest species in the world. They are known to be professional escape artists, a skill Marmalade seemed to have mastered.

"We’re likely going to bury some chicken wire or some kind of wiring so she won’t dig under the fence this time," Burkes said.

Burkes said she had an idea of where Marmalade would have visited if she had the chance.

"Somewhere where it’s very grassy, like tall grass and an open field. Probably a golf course or the duck pond," Burkes said.

Maybe one day, Marmalade.

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