Tortoise found covered in concrete. Florida rescuers had unique approach to remove it

·2 min read
Peace River Wildlife Center Facebook screengrab

A tortoise “covered in concrete” was found wandering a Florida neighborhood, and the predicament left rescuers perplexed over how to undo it.

It happened in Punta Gorda, about 100 miles south of Tampa, and photos show a thick layer of mortar was stuck to the underside of the gopher tortoise.

“A house was being built next to where this gopher tortoise was found and we believe it must have walked through the freshly poured concrete,” the Peace River Wildlife Center wrote Nov. 17 on Facebook.

The tortoise was identified as a hatchling, around 6 months old, and it was likely “out on its own for the first time” when the mishap occurred, the center said.

So how do you get dried concrete off a tortoise?

“Delicately chipping it off over a couple days with our nails was the best method since this patient was so small and delicate,” the center explained.

“We were able to carefully take off the ‘shell’ of concrete and our friend is good as new. After some good nutrition and hydration, this gopher tortoise will be back out in the wild!”

It was recently released in “the same general area” where it was found, the center said.

The gopher tortoise is native to all 67 Florida counties, but is listed as a threatened species due to “habitat destruction.” They can reach up to 15 inches in length and live 60 years, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The rescue center’s Facebook post has gotten more than 1,000 reactions and comments, including people who offered to take the turtle and release it on their property.

“Poor little baby. ... We’re paving over their home,” Bee Arthur posted on Facebook.

“I bet it wasn’t happy having it removed,” Richard Barker added.

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