A beloved Germantown tortoise is finally back home.
Hans Haines Horsfield, a Russian tortoise, had become a fixture at Wyck since arriving last spring. He was adored by visiting school children, but was also an important teaching tool during lessons on the environment.
More than two weeks ago, he wandered off Wyck’s farm during a morning trot. The loss was deeply upsetting to staffers, but his return was accompanied by relief.
“We’re happy that Hans is back, and appreciate the concern that the community extended, and for the concern about his safe return,” said Eileen Rojas, Wyck’s executive director.
Hans’ journey home was a bit circuitous and, at times, contentious.
Longtime resident Sharif Floyd said he found Hans while gardening on McCallum Street, just a couple blocks from Wyck.
He had watched two different passersby pause near a set of garages up the block. One of them muttered something about a turtle.
“Me being fond of turtles, I picked the turtle up to see if anyone was following it and that wasn’t the case,” said Floyd.
He knocked on a few doors, but no one knew Hans.
Needing to get back to work, Floyd stuck him in the “powder room” of a friend’s house he was looking after. He worried some mischievous kids might get to Hans if he left him outside.
“I put out a large dish of water so he could crawl in if he wanted to,” said Floyd.
The next day, Floyd handed Hans to a neighbor who already owned a turtle and, as far as he could tell, knew how to care for them. Though, truthfully, he would have preferred to keep Hans for himself.
Helping him get home
That Saturday, though, Floyd learned that Hans belonged to Wyck. He said he went by there afterwards, but no one answered.
By then, Hans’ disappearance had spread around the neighborhood and online and not without some pointed and/or veiled accusations.
So, Floyd said he decided to leave the matter to Hans’ new owners.
“If you guys choose to take the turtle back, that’s a decision that you make,” said Floyd, who ultimately made a walk-in appearance on Ed Feldman’s “Morning Feed” program on G-town Radio.
By Monday, Hans was back at Wyck, where officials declined to discuss the case (beyond their relief) with NewsWorks this week.