Missing Tortoise Returned to Owners in Tuscaloosa County in the Night
A Tuscaloosa County woman's missing pet tortoise was returned to his home late last night, she told local radio hosts Wednesday morning.
Teri Buford Grammer, a retired nurse, was catapulted into the local spotlight Tuesday when she posted on Facebook offering a cash reward for the safe return of Presley, her large, five-year-old sulcata tortoise.
Presley vanished from Grammer's yard sometime Tuesday, and she said on social media that she believed the tortoise had been stolen.
The post went super-viral and was shared almost 4,000 times in less than 24 hours.
Grammer joined the Steve & DC Show on 95.3 the Bear Wednesday morning to announce that the tortoise had been returned sometime Tuesday night.
"Apparently because of the multitude of posting and all of the loud voices saying 'Bring Presley Home,' they did come sometime during the night and put him back," Grammer told the morning show hosts.
"My grandson works nights and got home about 1 a.m.," she said. "He called me and said, 'Nana, he's in his little house,' so someone brought him back and physically put him back in his little house. I don't know who, or why they took him or whatever."
Grammer said Presley looked "a little rough" and was sluggish after being exposed to the cool night air, but was otherwise unharmed.
The Elrod woman said the tortoise was named after Elvis Presley and in honor of a family dog of the same name who died years ago. She told Steve and DC that her daughter works at a local daycare, and five years ago someone bought the tortoise at a reptile show and donated him to the daycare "when he was just the size of a 50-cent piece" to live in an aquarium.
Two years later, when COVID hit, the daycare closed for eight weeks and Presely came to live with Grammer at her home in Elrod, where he began to grow "astronomically."
Now, five years after he was first introduced to Grammer, Presley weighs around 40 pounds and might eventually double that and more -- his species is capable of living more than 100 years.
The reptile is back home now with Grammer and her four Chihuahuas, and Grammer thanked everyone in the community who advocated for his safe return.
"I have a house full of rescues and that's just my joy -- my animals, my dogs and my tortoise, all of them," she said. "They're my joy in my life right now."