Ten year old girl gets pet gopher tortoise, and they’re still BFFs 57 years later

A woman and her tortoise: faithful friends for, yes, 57 years.  The gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) is a denizen of the southeastern U.S., and is famous for being long-lived: they can live 40-60 years in the wild and up to 90 in captivity the video says 100). It looks like George, then, might outlive his owner Gina Smith.

What a pampered tortoise: he gets strawberries and kiwis for Christmas!  Watch the video: it’s adorable.



  1. Amy Aylmer
    Posted May 2, 2019 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    interesting that he would live longer in captivity, I was just reading an article about how housecats can actually live longer if allowed outside – in this way they consume more probiotics and omega-3s from grasses, bugs and prey , than if they were fed only dry cat food . Than again I think George prefers where he is!

    • Posted May 2, 2019 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      Nature is full of dangers. Lots of things want to eat you, or at least nibble a bit.

      • Amy Aylmer
        Posted May 2, 2019 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

        very true! one of the most dangerous being us human beings!

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted May 2, 2019 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

      That article is wrong or it’s speaking of outdoor cats in an untypical area free from motor vehicles & rival cats! Domestic indoor cats live a LOT longer & healthier lives, on average, than those domestic cats allowed to hunt & explore outdoors. Here in the UK 90% of cats roam free outdoors & around 25% of urban, roaming kitties are hit by vehicles resulting in disability or death. Roaming urban cats cover up to 20 acres of land & they inevitably cross into other cat territories where fights occur &/or diseases & parasites are exchanged. There’s also the problem of nosy cat getting locked up accidentally in garages & other areas the cat can’t escape from.

      Your point about diet is a good one – an outdoor cat probably has a better, more varied, if risky diet than poor old home-based ‘dry kibble cat.’ I suspect that working families don’t always look into the correct varied diet for a house cat & just reach for the kibble box. Between meals overfeeding with treats is also a house cat problem. I think it is a big job being serf-for-life to a cat while moderating kitty demands for treats. 🙂

    • Dominic
      Posted May 3, 2019 at 6:18 am | Permalink

      …but if a cat is kept indoors, small mammals, birds etc will live longer!

      • Amy Aylmer
        Posted May 3, 2019 at 8:44 am | Permalink

        That’s very true Dominic, the same can be said for us people to be fair. Although cat bells are fantastic so that cats can go out and the birds and mammals are warned by the bell!

  2. CAS
    Posted May 2, 2019 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    It takes a dedicated owner to keep any pet alive and healthy this long!

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted May 2, 2019 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    When humans are the cause of so many pet’s death it is nice to see one getting along just fine.

    Just thought I would throw in something about one of the candidates in the democratic side, Kamala Haris. Do not know if you saw the Barr hearings yesterday in Congress but the best Journalistic saying on it today is that she gutted Barr like a fish flopping on the dock, or something like that.

  4. Caldwell
    Posted May 2, 2019 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    When we moved to AZ when I was a kid we got a tortoise which lived in my parents yard for 35+ years. In the winter he “hibernated” in an attached storage shed that got cold but didn’t freeze.

    strawberries and kiwis for Christmas

    A vet said ours looked great and that they usually die from over-eating.

  5. Mark R.
    Posted May 2, 2019 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    What a great story. I can relate- I have 3 sliders, one of them I’ve had since ’91.

    • yazikus
      Posted May 2, 2019 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

      Generational pets, as I like to think of them.

      • Mark R.
        Posted May 2, 2019 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, I’ve had 3 dogs and 1 cat since then…the video reminded me of that. I wish dogs lived as long as turtles and tortoises though! I delight in turtles and reptiles in general, but I love dogs and cats.

        • yazikus
          Posted May 2, 2019 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

          Indeed. I’ve got an older dog and am starting to wonder when his time will come. He’s quite happy now, and even while diabetic (insulin shots twice a day) his quality of life seems high.
          Wolves, interestingly, will live quite long in certain captive situations, into their twenties.

  6. Diana MacPherson
    Posted May 2, 2019 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    I grew up with a tortoise. Had him until I was about 36.

  7. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted May 2, 2019 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    Next best thing to a pet rock. 😉


  8. Posted May 3, 2019 at 2:21 am | Permalink

    That tortoise does not look like a gopher tortoise. He does not have a particularly flat shell and the centre of his scutes are raised. Any tortoise experts out there?

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