Don't miss a story sign up to the North Devon Gazette's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Big surprise for Toby the tortoise

09:00 25 July 2012

'Toby' the tortoise with her 'babies' at An x-ray of 'Toby' Witton Lodge Vets


A trip to the vets reveals half-a-century-old secret.

A TORTOISE won at the fair 50 years ago had a surprise for its owners when it turned out ‘he’ was hiding an unusual secret.

Owner Anne Gray, from Sheepwash, had a hunch as to why ‘Toby’ had not been feeling well and was off his food.

After taking him to the Witten Lodge Veterinary Centre in Northam, her suspicions were confirmed; despite believing him to be male for half a century, Toby was in fact female.

Not only this, but the tortoise was carrying a clutch of nine eggs, and after being given an injection by practice partner Gareth Cross to hurry things along, Toby gave birth the next day.

Mrs Gray inherited Toby from her brother, who kept the creature as a pet for 45 years after winning it at the fair.

She said: “After 50 years, we couldn’t really rename her, but we are glad she is feeling better and is all back to normal now.

“I had a hunch what might have been wrong, as we never really knew for sure if Toby was a he or she.”

According to Mr Cross, tortoises occasionally lay eggs even when they haven’t mated.

Unfortunately there were no babies, but the owners kindly agreed to let the vets keep the eggs and x rays for educational visits to local primary schools.

Mr Cross said: “Tortoises are fascinating creatures.

“This was a rewarding case as it used the most up-to-date rapid imaging technology to confirm a good old-fashioned clinical hunch and, of course, had a good outcome.”


Other News Stories

Santas will gather in Bideford for Children's Hospice South West

Children’s Hospice South West event is on Sunday, December 6

Read more
Petroc's brand new engineering department.

Official opening ceremony at Petroc will be a chance to come and visit the brand new engineering centre.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:00
Is the row over dogs back at Instow beach?

Parish Council meeting on Thursday, October 15 to review the situation

Read more
Yesterday, 13:40
Residents protest against the plans at the site in March. Picture: Jim Bell

Benefits outweigh the harm, says Government inspector

Read more
Yesterday, 11:37
Get your chickens an Eglu and help raise money for the British Hen Welfare Trust today (Friday).

Support for British Hen Welfare Trust from the Omlet Eglu

Read more
Yesterday, 10:33
Police are trying to track the car in this picture

The owner of a blue Nissan Almeira could have vital information on collision that killed Natalie Jones, say police

Read more
Yesterday, 09:23
John Balls with Clovelly caught lobsters.

Lobster fisherman has reached a landmark in his bid to help conservation at Clovelly

Read more
Yesterday, 09:16

September saw a 4.9 per cent increase in crime in Barnstaple on the same period last year.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:14
Portmore's Colin and Mandy Webber presented the cheque to representatives of the club's chosen charities

Five local charities are to benefit from another year of fundraising at Portmore Golf Club.

Read more

Local Weather



max temp: 14°C

min temp: 11°C

Most Read News

Great British Life

Great British Life

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition E-edition

Search for a job in Devon

Local business directory

North Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications