Visiting the Mall with Carl the Tortoise
The Millcreek Mall is a big and busy place. If you keep your eyes open, you'll be amazed at what you might see.
Perhaps you’ll see Carl the Tortoise. He was dressed up in a nice onesie last week and spent a few hours visiting the mall with his owner Morgan Cronin, of Meadville, and her mom. Carl might stand only a foot high, but he is an attention getter. Carl meandered only a few feet from the food court entrance before he was surrounded by curious shoppers.
"He loves it,” says Morgan. “He'll do anything just to be next to you or go see somebody. Say hi to somebody."
Morgan's parents presented her with Carl seven years ago when he was a baby. Morgan told them she wanted a sulcata tortoise as a pet and companion. Morgan's large family enjoyed seeing the tortoise. So she came up with an idea.
"I just saw how much everybody loves seeing him. So I'm like, 'Let's just start taking him places. He goes everywhere."
Carl is known to frequent shopping malls and plazas as far away as Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Buffalo. Everywhere he goes people do a double-take, the children smile, and cameras come out,
"He's a little ham. He'll smile and flirt with you or wink at the ladies,” says Morgan.
Morgan says she was very shy before she hooked up with Carl. She says this sociable slowpoke has helped her become more talkative and make new friends. Of course, she is asked many questions about Carl. One of the most frequent is, 'What does he like to eat?’
"Dandelion flowers,” says Morgan. “They are his absolute favorite. Whenever the weeds start to pop up, you go grab a whole plate of them, piled up bigger than he is, and he will just mow them down."
Carl was the size of a matchbox when he joined Morgan's family. He now weighs 35 pounds and will grow to be 200 pounds. The baby diapers he wears at the mall will soon be replaced with adult diapers. Carl will live to be at least 80 years old so he and Morgan will be lifetime companions. She's happy she received a tortoise as a pet.
"Oh yeah. But he does act like a dog most of the time. Or a cat. Pretty chilled."
You can follow Carl's exploits on social media. Just search for 'Carl the Tortoise' on Facebook and Instagram.