Shell Game Over

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Teri, the wayward tortoise who woke up from hibernation and went looking for love, is back at her Woodland Hills home, much to the relief of owner Steve Killgore.

"I think in some general sense she knows who I am," Killgore said. "She walks toward me because I'm a food source."

After a story appeared in The Times a week ago on the lengths to which Killgore, 35, would go to retrieve his missing 70-ish tortoise, he received more than three dozen phone calls, from Sherman Oaks to Palos Verdes, detailing reptile sightings.

Teri wandered off almost two months ago after waking up from hibernation, which tortoise experts say is typical behavior. Usually, they are looking to mate, the experts said.

The call Killgore had been waiting for since Teri disappeared came Monday from just a mile away.

She was picked up by a family who found the tortoise in the street. Apart from a chipped beak, Teri was fine, Killgore said.

"I brought her home, then took her out in the backyard and put her in her water dish," Killgore said. "She blew bubbles and drank for 20 minutes."

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