Tortoise society promotes 
rescue work at its open day

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FROM the tiny to the enormous, there were tortoises aplenty at a society’s annual open day.

The Hampshire Tortoise Society in Fontley Road, Titchfield, held the event to promote the work it does with rescued tortoises and to raise funds.

BIG STAR Mick Manning, from Bedhampton, proudly shows off Tucker at the annual open day

BIG STAR Mick Manning, from Bedhampton, proudly shows off Tucker at the annual open day

Scores of people visited the centre to learn more about caring for tortoises and to meet some of the tortoises that have been helped by the society.

Founder Julie Hinks said she was delighted to see so many people attend the open day.

Ms Hinks, who has won awards for her work with the society, said: ‘We seem to be growing and getting bigger every year. It is wonderful to see everyone. It’s also an educational thing for us, as people are coming down here and learning to look after their tortoises properly.’

One of the stars of the day was Tucker the sulcata tortoise – the third ­largest species of tortoise in the world.

He weighs 30kg and his owners Dot and Mick Manning, from Bedhampton, were proudly showing him off.

They rehomed Tucker, who is eight years old, from the society. Tucker’s original owners had bought him over the internet believing him to be a small species. When they emigrated they could not take the large tortoise with them, so Tucker was given to the society, which rehomed him.

Now Mrs Manning, 57, said they wouldn’t be without him.

She said: ‘He has grown from 18kg to 30kg. He is amazing – a real character.’

Also displaying her tortoise was Mel Crowley, from Whiteley.

Mrs Crowley, 51, was showcasing Tootsie, a tiny spur-thighed tortoise.

Tootsie had to have emergency shell work after the family dog managed to break in to where she was being kept and mauled her.

The Hampshire Tortoise Society helped Mrs Crowley after the incident, providing a place for Tootsie to stay while recuperating.

The Hampshire Tortoise Society is a not-­for­-profit organisation that provides help to tortoise owners. To join go to: 
hampshiretortoisesociety.org

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