Turtle walks turn heads - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Turtle walks turn heads

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The 11-year-old, 85 pound African tortoise named Spike is not an urban legend and despite what on lookers may think he's real. The 11-year-old, 85 pound African tortoise named Spike is not an urban legend and despite what on lookers may think he's real.
William Duncan William Duncan
The pals walk at least 10 blocks twice a week, but that takes a while, especially at crosswalks. The pals walk at least 10 blocks twice a week, but that takes a while, especially at crosswalks.
Tina Moseley Tina Moseley

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – If you've driven in downtown Louisville lately and found yourself doing a double take after seeing a man walk a giant turtle you're not hallucinating! The turtle and his handler are the real deal and becoming quite a local attraction.

Wayside Christian Mission's print shop guru, William Duncan, said his work takes patience, a trait that also comes in handy during his second job – walking a giant turtle.

The 11-year-old, 85 pound African tortoise named Spike is not an urban legend and despite what on lookers may think he's real.

"Some people think he's remote control and some people think he's a dog until they get up close to him," Duncan said. 

For the past six years Spike has lived with Duncan on the third floor at Wayside. He knows the residents, how to use the elevator and how to get around.

"One day  he actually came out of the building by himself ," Duncan said.

Spike became the Wayside's mascot and Duncan's pet after Wayside COO's Nina and Tim Moseley realized their son's turtle was getting too big for his aquarium.

As Spike grew so did curiosity about him around Wayside and in public.

"It's very good for spike to be at the mission cause folks are interested in him. It kinda breaks the ice," said Tina Moseley.

As soon as Spike hits the city sidewalks, questions begin.

"Some want to buy him and say how much would you take for him and I say ‘he's not for sale,'" said Duncan.

So, what does a priceless turtle eat? Judging by his walk around the block he'll eat anything green.

Folks on the street want to pet him, rub his spikes and feel his shell.

Duncan said, "Everybody likes Spike and Spike likes everybody and if somebody is afraid of him they usually get over it pretty quick."

The pals walk at least 10 blocks twice a week, but that takes a while, especially at crosswalks.

"We've walked at least four or five hours a night two times a week for the last five years," Duncan said of their strolls.

A big advantage of having a giant turtle? Spike gains weight and Duncan takes it off. "I don't have any time to sit and watch TV and eat junk food so that helps," he said.

More important than weight is that Spike has become a real friend to Duncan and others over the years.

Duncan, who is a recovering alcoholic said Spike is like a therapy turtle, and said taking care of him helps him take better care of himself, "It gives me hope that somehow or another I can work my problems out."

Spike could live to be about 80 years old and could end up weighing 200 pounds. If he does Williams said he is going to have to find another person to help him walk Spike, but chances are he won't have a shortage of volunteers!

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