Animals

A Land Tortoise Named Macho Went Missing in Little River

A photo of Macho posted on Instagram by the Center for Subtropical Affairs
A photo of Macho posted on Instagram by the Center for Subtropical Affairs Screenshot via Instagram
This is a story of love, hope, and an exuberant land tortoise named Macho.

In early October, Macho and his family were en route to their farm in Texas and had pulled off I-95 to "clean up a mess" when someone pulled up beside them and "drove off" with the quinquagenarian land tortoise on NW 71st Street in Little River, according to missing flyers posted around the Little Haiti, Little River, and El Portal area.

The missing flyers include a selfie of a woman smiling beside Macho as he appears to munch on lettuce.

"MACHO IS A LAND TORTOISE AND SEEN AS EYE CANDY!!," the missing flyer reads. "PLEASE HE HAS A LOVELY HOME WITH US AND THE OTHER ANIMALS!! WE ARE A FAMILY."


"I JUST WANT MY 'MUCHO' BACK!!" it continues.
There are 13 different living species of giant tortoises (or Galápagos tortoises), which are the world's largest tortoises. The reptiles can weigh up to roughly 600 pounds and live for more than 100 years. According to a recent study, more than half of the world’s turtle and tortoise species are now threatened with extinction.

Fortunately, Macho was soon spotted sauntering up North Miami Avenue near the Center for Subtropical Affairs, an ecological learning center and event space in Little River. 

"I will never get over the image of a giant tortoise walking up Miami Avenue," reads an October 8 post by the Center for Subtropical Affairs. "In retrospect I think he was looking for his dad!"

While land tortoises are notoriously slow – with many moving slower than a mile per hour – Macho reportedly ran over to his owner "like a dog" when he called his name during their reunification.


"Honestly never even knew they could recognize their own names!" the post states.

The Texas family had been driving around the neighborhood for days searching for Macho when they located him at the Center for Subtropical Affairs.

According to the Center's post, Macho was reportedly handed down to his current owner from his father when he was a child, and he's had the tortoise ever since.

The owners tell New Times that they're grateful for the community's support in getting Macho home safe, and think it's "beautiful" that people took the time to help them find Macho.

"Great people do definitely exist!!" his owners wrote in a text message to New Times, with two smiling emojis.

A spokesperson for the Miami Police Department tells New Times that there weren't any reports of larcenies or burglaries involving a stolen land tortoise in the past few weeks.

After being reunited, the family couldn't immediately account for how Macho went missing, and if there is a tortoise kidnapper still on the loose. However, some commentors suggest that during breeding season male tortoises are "notorious escape artists."
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Alex DeLuca is a fellow at Miami New Times.
Contact: Alex DeLuca