It was a gorgeous day on Assumption Island when expedition leader Paul Rose was filming for Pristine Seas.
But there was an odd noise coming from somewhere on the island that particular day. They had no idea what it was at first but made their way to the noise to find out. As it turned out it was two tortoises mating!
“You can hear a call,” he says as he walks into a grassy field. “You can hear an ‘oooh ooh,’ like a pushing blowing kind of sound. Very intriguing sound. And that’s downwind from us so, its’ a big sound to come against the wind.”
It was apparently that time of year for this lovely pair of tortoises. The rest of the island was so quiet it was impossible to miss the sound!
When they got near enough they located the tortoises who had just stopped making their noises and also had stopped their mating process.
For a moment they just sat there, even touching noses in an adorable display of affection. They were quite the pair!
“They’ve stopped mating. I’m not sure if its because we’ve got close or because they’ve just finished, but either way it’s a wonderful thing to experience,” he observes.
“Two beautiful tortoises mating right under the bush. There’s nothing else going on. No sound on this island at all. So it was the sound of their mating that alerted us to walk 200 yards.”
For a moment they just watched to tortoises in wonder, but then the male stood up with his powerful legs and started coming right for them!
He was having a romantic moment and these humans had interrupted him so it was game on!
Now as powerful as this formidable animal might look, he was also extremely slow, as you might have guessed. But that did not stop him! He kept coming!
Rose told his cameraman to stay still so he could get a good shot of the animal, but the cameraman got too nervous when the animal got too close.
“He got wind of us. Beautiful. Don’t move!” Rose tells his cameraman, laughing. “Just don’t move don’t move. Don’t move. Don’t move anything.”
Then Rose takes the tortoise on the slowest chase of all time! He moved slowly enough that the tortoise could keep up, but not so slow that he can get bitten.
He was expecting the animal to give up sooner. Just thinking that the animal would scare him enough to get him out of his territory. But the territory turned out to be much bigger than Rose expected! The tortoise “chased” him for about 400-yards before Rose decided it was time to let him be and moved out of the way faster.
“And what’s just amazing is that they are completely relentless to make sure you’re well off his territory which I thought might have been about 10 feet but I’ve actually been on about a 400-yard circuit around her with this whopping great tortoise determined to take a bite out of my leg,” says Rose.
Rose seemed pretty exhilarated by this slow-moving chase. It was hilarious how slow this animal was but that he refused to give up. Talk about determination!
“This is what you call dogged tortoise determination,” says Rose. “He hasn’t seen my finishing sprint yet! You can’t blame him. He’s over there in the bushes mating on this beautiful quiet island and I jumped up to take a look. Who can blame him?”
With that closing comment, Rose and his cameraman retreat to leave this male tortoise and his lover alone to either finish their business or go on their merry way. What a day for this expedition leader! He was obviously thrilled by the discovery made that day and it was a trip well worth it.
I’m sure the tortoises were happy to see him go though!
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