WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) – Rocket the tortoise was one of many first animals ever on the Sedgwick County Zoo when it opened within the early ’70s, bringing smiles to faces for many years.

However practically 40 years later, in 2009, the more-than 500-pound tortoise realized how massive he was and have become an escape artist.

“He really attained a size that might span the size of the bars. He might get his legs over the sting of this and simply stroll proper down,” mentioned handler Nate Nelson.

Nelson was Rocket’s handler again in 2009. He says when he would escape, it was not possible to carry him again up, so it will take hours to stroll him all the best way round and again as much as his exhibit.

That is when Nelson made the powerful determination to ship him off to a greater house.

“It was troublesome, as a result of he is all the time been a zoo favourite right here, each for the keepers and the general public. However he was simply too massive for that indoor exhibit any longer,” mentioned Nelson.

Nelson shipped Rocket off to Tulsa. That is the place his new handler, Chris Williams, first met him.

“We had the identical downside the place he escaped there a number of occasions,” mentioned Williams.

So, it was off to “max safety” for the 90-year-old tortoise – a model new, state-of-the-art exhibit on the Bronx Zoo.

However lastly, greater than a decade later, with an escape-proof space to dwell, Rocket is house.

“We did get to open a brand new big tortoise exhibit for Galapagos tortoises. And it is rather more safe right here,” mentioned Williams.

Nelson says whereas he is fairly positive it is one-sided, he is glad he will get to spend daily once more with one in all his oldest pals.

“I do not suppose he acknowledges me. Nevertheless it’s arduous to say, you understand… They do not actually have any facial options,” mentioned Nelson.

The one catch is that Rocket’s new house doesn’t have an indoor public viewing space. So as soon as the chilly climate will get right here, you may have to attend till it warms again as much as see him.