WATCH: What’s an exotic African tortoise doing in Burnaby?
VANCOUVER – ‘Eddie’ is an African spurred tortoise, the third-largest species of tortoise in the world, native to the southern edge of the Sahara desert in northern Africa.
He was recently found near Simon Fraser University on Burnaby Mountain and brought to the Burnaby SPCA by a Good Samaritan.
Staff say Eddie is an example of why people should not own exotic pets who aren’t native to B.C.
“These tortoises belong in the desert. They can live up to 150 years and can weigh up to 200 pounds, and pet owners may not realize how hard it can be to provide for their needs,” says Dr. Sara Dubois, chief scientific officer at the BC SPCA. “Eddie can out-live several owners. The fact he was found as a stray is even sadder since he could have easily been killed by a car. Leaving him to fend for himself alone is horrible.”
Current exotic pet laws do not prohibit the sale of tortoises so Dubois says this story is just another example of why laws need to change.
“There are very few reptile sanctuaries and many are full – yet another reason why people shouldn’t own exotic pets,” says Dubois. “We just want to encourage people to research exotic animals and their needs if they’re considering purchasing an exotic pet. Hopefully that will lead them to think twice before buying a pet they shouldn’t have.”
An expert reptile veterinarian has been consulted and will be recommending a placement for Eddie, whom SPCA staff hope will eventually be re-homed in a sanctuary that caters to his species.