Speedy tortoise found roaming the streets of Mililani, reunited with owner

A tortoise found wandering the streets of Mililani Wednesday morning has been reunited with its owner.

Matthew Fao reached out to KHON2 after his mother spotted it at around 11 a.m. near Meheula Parkway. When Fao got there to help, he says the tortoise was already on the road.

“I just didn’t want to leave it there, you know, defenseless and all that. You want to help him out. You don’t want to come back the next day and see him on the road and say oh, what if I could have done something,” said Fao.

Hawaiian Humane Society animal investigators were scheduled to pick him up Thursday. In the meantime, he spent his time roaming the grassy area of the Faos’ complex. He is actually pretty fast.

Fao named the animal Jeff and says he’s been a “troublemaker.”

KHON2 asked Fao, “Is it going to be hard to say goodbye?”

“Yeah. It’s interesting to have this type of animal, but he is not mine, so get him a good home, someone can take care of him,” Fao replied.

After our story initially aired, Fao told us he was contacted by a police officer, who had taken a report from the tortoise’s owner when it first went missing. Turns out, she lives just a few blocks away.

“I called you guys, next thing you know, I’m on the line with someone else to get him off my hands. You guys are a big help,” Fao told KHON2.

The tortoise’s real name: Adobo.

The Hawaiian Humane Society says tortoises often break out of their pens and they can also dig their way out.

Just like any other animal, they can bite, but the the only things Jeff has been chewing since he’s been with Matthew are apples and lettuce.

Since last July, the Hawaiian Humane Society has had a total of 25 tortoises come through its doors. Of those, 18 were either lost or abandoned tortoises found in the community.

The following is a Q&A with Hawaiian Humane Society:

Is there a limit to the size of tortoise you can have? There is no limit.

What’s the proper care for tortoises? As any large animal, large tortoises need adequate space to move and roam.

Are they known to escape or dig their way out of things? Tortoises are much stronger than most people realize and are escape artists. They often break out of their pens. They can also dig their way out, so it’s best to make sure they are secured properly in your yard.

What is the protocol if someone finds a tortoise? If you find a tortoise, make sure to contain it, then call the Hawaiian Humane Society at 356-2250. You can also bring him to our Admissions Center 24 hours a day. You can also choose to keep the tortoise at your home while waiting to see if he has an owner. Just be sure to file a found report at HawaiianHumane.org so we can try to make a match.

Are tortoises known to bite? Just like any other animal, tortoises can bite. The more domesticated and socialized he is, the less likely he is to bite.

Is there any law saying you can’t touch them? There are no laws.

What happens once Hawaiian Humane Society gets it? The tortoise will be on hold for 48 hours while we wait for a potential owner to claim him. If he is not claimed, he will be evaluated and made available for adoption. Tortoises do have distinct markings on their shell that could help with identifying them.

Has there ever been reports of tortoises found on the street? We do get reports of people finding stray tortoises a few times a year.

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