By Christina Wood
A dad is in the doghouse after bringing home the ‘world’s angriest tortoise’ who has claimed their garden as his own ‘for the next 100 years’ – chasing and biting anyone who sets foot in it.
John French says that he took in ‘crazy’ tortoise Timmy a year ago when he spotted him relentlessly banging against a glass vivarium in a nursery the sports coach was working in.
After leading wife Steph to believe their violent new house guest was just for summer, the 37-year-old had to come clean and reveal that Timmy could be with them FOREVER – as his life expectancy is 100 years.
However after spending all of his life trapped inside a tiny tank, the 12-year-old tortoise has now developed a territorial streak – claiming the garden as his own and aggressively defending it.
Hilarious footage shows Timmy patrolling the garden, ramming his head into a toy that has been left out and then chasing John at speed and biting his feet whenever he gets close.
Timmy has become so violent that the family have been forced to ditch children’s parties for fear that the tortoise would attack and injure their young guests.
John, from Penrith, Cumbria, said: “He is very territorial. Anything that is in the garden that isn’t grass gets attacked.
“He is crazy. I would get him a girlfriend but I think he might kill her.
“He is very fast. That’s one of the things I first noticed about him. We are just giving him a bit of time to get used to it. He is making up for lost time now. He is absolutely rapid.
“He was fine for a while. We had to look for him in the garden because he would hide himself away but after a year he became so territorial.
“My wife didn’t realise he was living with us. Now she hates him. He goes for her feet. They can live for 100 years but my wife didn’t realise that either.
“I find it quite funny. My friends love him. We normally have the children’s parties in the garden but we don’t anymore because they would get chased around.”
When John spotted the tortoise last year he stressed to the staff that Timmy should be running around outside instead of being cooped up in the tank.
However, when they explained they weren’t able to provide that way of life for Timmy, John decided to take him in, much to his wife’s dismay.
Steph, a 31-year-old nursery nurse said: “I initially thought he [Timmy] was just staying with us for the Summer holidays. When John told me that he was actually living with us on a permanent basis I was not happy at all.
“He already has four large turtles living in our garden pond that love to escape into our garden.
“To make matters worse John told me that he may live to 100, so we are stuck with him now for life.
“He has a terrible temper and attacks anything that moves in the garden and he constantly bites at my shoes or any toys left lying on the grass.
“At the end of the Summer John built Timmy his own large pen with a green house to stop him attacking our family and any visitors but this new enclosure takes up a large part of our garden.
“To be fair, Timmy leads a great life as John said that he used to live in a little vivarium.
“The preschool have definitely done the best thing by giving him to us as he now has a green house with his own heat lamps and garden to roam around in.”
John has recently brought Timmy in the house to hibernate in a box in their garage until March next year in the hopes that this will calm him down.
John said: “He has never been in hibernation before so it is a bit of a risk. It might sort him out but I doubt it. It might make him worse.”
Steph said: “Timmy and I are not friends so [having him in the garage] is good news for me but not for our little boy Arran who loves him and calls him ‘Dinosaur’.”
John said: “He wasn’t too bad for a while until he established the garden was his. He had never had so much space before. He is still quite angry.
“He chases the children [Arran, 2 and Leo, 4]. Arran loves him. He thinks it is absolutely hilarious. It wouldn’t hurt you he just pulls at your shoes but if you had no shoes on it would hurt.”