Zoo Atlanta tortoise makes tracks

In honor of World Turtle Day, which was May 23, we decided to replay a journey recently undertaken by one of Atlanta’s premier heroes on the half shell.

As thrill-a-minute videos go, this one was more Slow-Pro than Go-Pro.

Patches, the 200-pound Aldabra tortoise, recently made her yearly journey to her outdoor summer quarters at Zoo Atlanta, leaving her glassed-in winter hideaway to enjoy the sunny, warmer weather.

This time her short stroll across the zoo was recorded by an on-board Turtle Cam, creating, well, not exactly a thrill-ride of a video.

A once-a-season promenade — akin to the parade of ducks at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, but more largo than allegro — the paseo of Patches is the traditional sign of spring at Zoo Atlanta.

The Go-Pro video shows Patches’ handlers coaxing her along, patting her shell, and, at the crucial moment, lifting her over the pickets that enclose her outdoor habitat, which is located near the new Scaly Slimy Spectacular reptile house.

The encouragement notwithstanding, Patches appears to know where she’s going in the video, and proceeds with a purpose, and a few breaks. She was followed by the zoo’s other two Aldabra tortoises, female Corky and male Shuffles. All are estimated to be 50 years old. Aldabra tortoises can live to be 100.

The tortoises originate from the Aldabra atoll, off the coast of Africa, and are well-suited to the summer heat of Atlanta. A Youtube video shows the Patches Go-Pro parade from two perspectives.

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