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Tortoise chasing truck viral video provokes ire of animal advocates

On August 16, John Walkenbach uploaded a 34 second YouTube video of a small tortoise in hot pursuit of a little remote controlled blue pickup truck stating,

Is this a playful tortoise, a tortoise in search of a mate or is this animal cruelty?
John Walkenbach

"We're staying amused tonight in Seattle."

Nobody is really sure why a tortoise chasing a toy truck went viral; so far more than 2,220,225 views of the chase have been viewed. Probably the most fun of seeing viral videos launched onto the wide world of the web are the comments and replies of viewers. There are never a shortage of opinions, but then again the Internet doesn't require anyone to take an intelligent test, so there's no telling what one might read.

So why would a tortoise chase a toy truck? Are tortoises playful? One response from Matt Campbell explained a theory:

"I'm actually a professional zookeeper at an AZA accredited facility (for the last 12 years), and have been keeping a variety of herps for over 35 years. Every male chelonian I have ever seen in captivity - Box Turtles, tortoises (various species), aquatic species - they all will attempt to mate with any other chelonian they are presented with, regardless of gender or species. Perhaps I exaggerate a little when I say they'll attempt to mate with just about anything, but it's not far off the truth."

However Matt didn't dismiss the idea that the adorable little reptile wasn't merely having a good time:

"Play behavior has been noted in turtles and tortoises before, which usually indicates a higher level of intelligence. Of course the clip doesn't show if he (she?) ever catches the toy car and if/when they do, what they do with the car."

While hundreds of post lauded the video as adorable, there were other people who weren't impressed. And while there were some comments about animal abuse, Milano Auditore stated:

"Yes, it's a tortoise, but all tortoises are also turtles, similar to how all lions and tigers are also cats. The tortoise in the video isn't running happily, it's just running to investigate the truck, perhaps to attack it. And while I wouldn't call this animal abuse at all, it shows that hardwood floors suck for tortoise feet. I for one would have loved to see how fast this guy could have gone on proper ground."

Just in case you are curious about tortoise care, please click here for more information.

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