Shell you later! Diego the South American yellow-footed tortoise said to his owner before embarking on an adventure that lasted 38 days.
Diego’s #tortdad is none other than San Marcos mayor Daniel Guerrero, who was heartbroken when in late October his beloved pet was nowhere to be found. “My heart sank,” Guerrero said in an interview with Texas Monthly.
According to Guerrero, Diego has an extroverted personality and immediately made friends in the San Marcos community.
To help locate Diego – who had been a part of the Guerrero family for two years before his escape – he began circulating photos on social media. The next day he got a lead but he was dismayed to see it was a video of someone trying to “rescue” Diego by placing him in the San Marcos River. A common misconception, as many people mistake tortoises with turtles.
However, Guerrero panicked and headed straight to the riverbanks with a search team integrated by; divers, kayakers, and even a search-and-rescue dog. He had no luck and eventually decided to patiently wait out Diego’s return by getting a new friend – a tortoise named Chiquito, as reported by Texas Monthly.
After what seemed like an eternity, Guerrero got the call he had long been waiting for.
On December 3, Olympic kayaker ben Kvanli was aware of a slow-moving intruder on his riverside lawn, he immediately recognized the lost tortoise – Diego, who he knew and adored – and reunited it with his family.
“It was overwhelming how many people reached out and were willing to help find Diego,” Guerrero says. “I had no idea so many people cared about him. It meant so much.”