Tortoise rescued from roadway

Central Point police found a different kind of slow-moving traffic hazard Monday when they discovered a large tortoise ambling down a roadway.

Several motorists called at about 3:45 p.m. to report that the reptile — identified as an African spurred tortoise that weighed about 30 pounds with a shell measuring about 16 inches — was on Lathrop Drive near 10th Street and was at risk of getting run over, Central Point Master Police Officer Chadd Griffin said.

One of the city's community service officers chased down the turtle, swooped it up and took it to nearby Roxy Ann Veterinary Hospital, where it will remain while workers seek out its owner, Griffin said.

Police have no idea whether the non-native tortoise, which is on a state list of reptiles that can be legally bought and sold in Oregon, was lost or abandoned. Like all exotic animals, the tortoise cannot legally be released in Oregon.

"We don't really know where it came from," Griffin said. "It definitely didn't come out of a creek around here."

There were no reports of a napping hare nearby.

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