Family tortoise goes missing from Sanford backyard

A Seminole County family is asking the community for help in finding their 17-year-old tortoise that is now missing from their enclosed backyard.

Lola is a 50-pound African Spurred Tortoise that is a loved member of the Bame family.“She’s a bit like a dog,” Jaimz Bame said. “You can treat her around with watermelon. She’ll follow you around. She likes to sit in your lap if you’re sitting crisscrossed. She’ll sit in your lap if you’re feeding her. She really, really loves watermelon. Like you can hear her burp like it will come out of her nose if she drinks too much.”

Lola had a home in a Sanford backyard until she disappeared on Sunday

.“The gates are all sealed off,” Bame said. “When we came outside all of the gates were closed and we’ve had it for so long that we know that there is no way for her to escape. We barricaded the bottom of the gates so it can’t push its way out. There’s no way that it can get under the house because it’s bricked off.”

Over the weekend, heavy rain flooded part of their backyard and water rushed into Lola’s burrow.

“We even dug holes in the burrow to see if we could find her because after the rain it flooded and she’s not there,” Bame said. “She’s been missing for two days.”

Friends put out a call for help on Facebook to find Lola.

“There were six other people who said that their tortoises went missing around the neighborhood,” Bame said. “So maybe there’s someone going around stealing them and collecting them. She didn’t escape. We know that for sure.”

Now the family is hoping someone will come forward with information on what happened to Lola.

“We were planning on growing old with her because they grow up to be around 100 years old and get really big,” Bame said. “So that was our plan as a family to keep the tortoise here.”