Tortoise pursues man in ‘slowest chase ever’


Explorer Paul Rose is pursued relentlessly by a giant tortoise; video screen grab

A giant tortoise presents an imposing figure when it becomes angry, mostly because of its sheer size.

But as National Geographic explorer Paul Rose discovered recently in the Seychelles, “The Tortoise and the Hare” is but a fable, and while an angry tortoise might be able to mount a formidable pursuit, it’s never really going to catch anything it chases.

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Rose, who was part of a "Pristine Seas" expedition on a small island in the Indian Ocean republic, became involved in what the network described as "the slowest chase ever" after being sniffed out by two giant tortoises that were mating.

The male didn't care for the intrusion–who would?–so it turned toward Rose and went after him, slowly but relentlessly, across the island landscape.


An imposing presence, but not much of a pursuer; video screen grab

"This is what you'd call dogged tortoise determination," Rose says, while backing away during a chase that covered 400 yards. "[But] he hasn't seen my finishing sprint yet."

Once Rose was coaxed a safe distance away, the tortoise turned and beat a hasty retreat back to the female. Well, it wandered back as quickly as it could. Presumably, the female was still waiting in the bushes.

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