Them city tortoises. Just can't be satisfied with a normal tortoise life of walking in circles and staring at inanimate objects. That's for hicks!

The New York Post reports that Giovani the Bad Brooklyn Tortoise, looking for a big adventure on a Sunday afternoon, used his basketball-sized tortoise body (gross) to send his plastic terrarium careening to the floor, where the heat lamp introduced itself to a can of paint thinner and such massive chaos ensued that it took 60 firefighters to set things straight.

There are so many lessons to be learned here, New York.

First off, African Spurred Sulcata Tortoises belong in the wild, not in your suffocating Brooklyn bedroom. Especially not sitting across from a water-dwelling turtle, helpless to all that restless, plundering African blood. (R.I.P. little guy.) And if you do decide to keep a reptile menagerie in your Fifth Avenue apartment, perhaps move your pile of flammable art supplies from directly beneath the exhibit?

Apart from the dead turtle, Sunday's victims included three cops and a firefighter who suffered smoke inhalation while trying to see if anybody was home — which, luckily, was not the case.

Still, 18-year-old Mohamed Salem, Giovani's owner, and his Egyptian immigrant father Ibrahim seemed unfazed by the fire. From the Post:

One firefighter found Giovani in the kitchen and rescued him. …

“I don't think [Giovani] could have done it. If it was him, he would done it the first time I got him” a couple months ago, Mohamed said at his parents' nearby store, Pyramids Jewelry International.

“How he make the fire?” [Ibrahim] asked, while patting Giovani's shell and tickling his feet. “But thanks God he is in life. Thank God my family is safe. He was pretty lucky.”

That's a good message to send your troublemakin' tortoise: Just give him a nice foot tickling after he ignites a deadly fire that sends flames “shooting out of the top floor” and costs the city thousands. What a cutie.


LA Weekly