Wild animal Wednesday: meet the African spurred tortoise!

PINE MOUNTAIN, Ga. (WRBL) – Come take a walk on the wild side! Every Wednesday on News 3 This morning, Blake Eason from News 3 takes you on a ride through Wild Animal Safari – a Pine Mountain theme park.

As the next stop on our safari adventure, we return to the Walk About Adventure Zoo to meet Shelby the African turtle.

CEO Katie Harrison says Shelby is 10 years old and they received her through an adoption gift.

“We had Shelby about four years ago,” Harrison said. “She was someone’s pet. They decided they couldn’t take care of her anymore, so they gave her here.

Harrison says Shelby’s diet at Wild Animal Safari consists of romaine lettuce, in the wild it’s a little different.

“Typically, they eat a lot of weed,” Harrison said. “Now they live in the desert, naturally in Africa. So regardless of the type of vegetation, they can find a lot of cacti and things like cacti. “

Become the third largest turtle in the world and weighing around 100 pounds, contrary to popular belief, Harrison says Shelby is the furthest thing from sluggishness.

“I don’t think Shelby is slow at all,” Harrison said. “No, now they tend to move a bit slower than other species. But when they are motivated they can go for you.

Besides their size, Harrison says one of his favorite things about the turtle is their protective nature in the wild.

“They are also very important to their ecosystem in Africa,” said Harrison. “They like to dig burrows. And so in the desert, these burrows create a habitat not only for them, but also for other species, like little lizards, other things that do not go home and make it a safe place for them.

Not only is Shelby a popular visit to the Walkabout Adventure Zoo, Harrison says due to her cool and calm demeanor, she’s also an animal ambassador.

Wild Animal Safari Animal Ambassadors are specific animals available for offsite adventures such as school tours for educational purposes.

Guided tours are available for park visitors who want to learn about all of the animals throughout the safari and within the Walkabout Adventure Zoo.

Wild Animal Safari is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2021 and as part of this celebration, the park is partnering with News 3 for “Wild Animal Wednesdays – A Ride on the Wild Side”. The park is located at 1300 Oak Grove Road in Pine Mountain, Georgia, and the 300-acre park is home to 75 species of animals. For more information on Wild Animal Safari, including how to plan your visit and purchase tickets, go to https://animalsafari.com.

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