Anyone missing a tortoise?

A stray one was reported wandering in North Charleston on Thursday. For now, it's living at the Charleston Animal Society.

"It's obviously someone's valued pet," said Kay Hyman, the shelter's communications director.

The African Sulcata tortoise, which measures about 18 inches long and a foot wide, is thought to be about 5 years old. It was found in the West View subdivision.

Experts say the tortoise can live to be more than 100 years old and weigh more than 100 pounds. So, it's not just a lifetime commitment. Call it an inter-generational pet, something to pass on to the grandkids.

"I just don't think people think. Sometimes, I don't think people realize the commitment they need to make to the animals," Hyman said.

The Sulcata tortoise is surpassed in size only by the giant tortoises of the Galapagos Islands. Sulcatas are active and like to burrow, climb and roam about, often in search of food, according to Internet sites dealing with the tortoise. They are strong animals and have been known to break down fences and even walls.

Despite its adventures, this Sulcata tortoise was fine other than a spot of blood around its mouth, which Hyman said was probably from digging its way to freedom.

Although unusual, the tortoise is not the oddest animal to find a home at the Animal Society. An Emu was reunited with its owners through the efforts of the society. The owners had moved to South America. "They had been missing that Emu for months," Hyman said.