US & Canada

US police detain giant tortoise after brief chase

Alhambra Police Department patrol car and the giant tortoise Image copyright AP
Image caption The giant tortoise failed to outrun the police

Police in Alhambra in greater Los Angeles have recaptured a giant tortoise called Clark after a brief chase along the city's streets.

"The tortoise did try to make a run for it, but our officers are pretty fast," said the Alhambra Police Department on its Facebook page.

It took two officers to manoeuvre the 150lb (70kg) reptile into a police car.

Clark was taken to an animal rescue centre, from where he was later claimed by his owners.

Keeping giant desert tortoises is illegal without a permit, but police will not be prosecuting Clark's owners.

"We enjoy keeping families together, so an exception was made in this case," Alhambra police said.

A local expert identified Clark as a sulcata tortoise, or African spurred tortoise, native to the southern fringes of the Sahara desert.

Gary Wilfong of the California Turtle and Tortoise Club told the Los Angeles Times that Clark looked like an 18- to-20-year-old male.

Tortoises can run as fast as 1mph (1.6km/h) "if they really want to," Mr Wilfong said.