‘We had to hide the umbrella stand’ - Timmy the loveless tortoise takes a shine to a shoe
- Credit: Andrew Gipson
His owner may be trying to set him up with a suitable lady but Timmy the loveless tortoise has in the meantime taken a shine to a shoe.
Timmy has been with Andrew Gipson, 53, from Diss, since he was four. But despite being set up with dates to try to bring him out of his shell, the pet has been single for more than 45 years.
Since waking up from his hibernation this spring he has again been on the look out for a lady tortoise to fall in love with, but the best he has managed is finding a sole mate in a battered old shoe, which when upside down bears a passing resemblance to another tortoise.
Mr Gipson is again trying to find him a real mate after feeling sorry for Timmy and his search for suitable love interest. Last year Timmy spent most of the day trying to mate with a garden umbrella base, but this year turned his attention to the shoe.
He said: "He is still desperate. This year his partner is a shoe, we had to hide the umbrella stand. My dad might not be happy when he finds out it is his shoe that he has fallen for."
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The 49-year-old pet made national headlines last summer when 11 rounds of speed dating at the Norfolk Tortoise Society failed to spark a connection.
Mr Gipson is not sure why he has failed to hit it off with the females he was introduced to but has been advised that his mate may need to be the same breed.
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After all these years Timmy may be getting a bit desperate and his owner, who moved to Diss from Milton Keynes to help his parents, is determined to speed up the course of true love from tortoise pace.
"I'm on a real mission to find him a mate this year," he said. "He seems more desperate than ever. I'll be getting in touch with Norfolk Tortoise Society soon to see if they have any eligible ladies for him."
His love life may be uneventful but Timmy has got into plenty of other scrapes including being driven over with a car and run over with a lawnmower.
On both occasions the Norfolk Tortoise Society, a voluntary group with some 500 members, came to his rescue helping to nurse him back to health.