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Zoo Buddy: Adventures of Boss Hog, a radiated tortoise

Updated: Jun. 15, 2021 at 9:24 AM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - We’re back at the Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo meeting Boss Hog, a radiated tortoise.

“They come from Madagascar at full-length their shell will be about 16 to 18 inches long, they can weigh up to about 35 pounds,” says Garrett Cole, a Zookeeper at the zoo.

During our interview, you could hear Boss Hog grunting.

“Whenever they kind of don’t like what’s going on or they want it a certain way they start grunting,” explains Cole.

He says they’re pretty active during the day.

“Mostly they just kind of walk around and explore, grazing is the biggest part of their diet, they kind of just walk around, eat grass, leaves, things that fall on the ground, here at the zoo we feed them kind of a salad mixture every day and they sleep at night,” says Cole.

“They’re critically endangered there in Madagascar, they’re commonly picked up in the illegal pet trade, people think of them as homeopathic medicine, people like to eat them, all kinds of different reasons,” says Cole. Actually, in April of 2018, they found 10,000 of these guys in an abandoned house in Madagascar that were picked up for the illegal pet trade so it’s very important to kind of know what these guys are and try to help stop that kind of trade.”

If you want to visit him at the zoo, he’s in an enclosure near the reptile building, which is now back open after being closed due to the pandemic.

And the zoo is having its big fundraiser, Zoobilation, on June 26th. They’ll have games, animal encounters, food trucks, and more.

They’re open every day of the week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The train ride, boat ride, and reptile building are all back open too! You can call them at (318) 329-2400 for more information.

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