A lonely shy tortoise who was regularly bullied by his own species has finally found love – with a PLASTIC TOY female.
Timid Timmy quite literally withdrew into his shell and was kept in isolation after the other tortoises ganged up and picked on him.
But the 60-year-old reptile is no longer on the shell-f after he fell for Tanya – a plastic replica tortoise.
Timmy has doted over Tanya night and day since keepers put her in his enclosure and set up a blind date.
He fetches her food – which she never eats – and ”kisses” her by nuzzling their heads together.
Timmy has lived at the Tortoise Garden sanctuary in St Austell, Cornwall, for the last three years.
Sanctuary owner Joy Bloors said: ”Timmy came to us when his owners emigrated to New Zealand. They’d had him for 20 years.
”I’ve tried introducing him to other tortoises but they don’t seem to like him and bully and fight with him. I put the plastic toy in his pen with him and now they inseparable.
”He nuzzles and kisses her, moves her around and pushes lettuce towards her. He plays with her everyday.
”If I want him to go into his hut at night time I have to put Tanya in there first otherwise he won’t go.”
Timmy, a Hermann tortoise, was taken in by Joy after his owners moved to New Zealand.
She said: ”Tanya’s only the third of the size of him but he doesn’t seem to mind. He’s much happier when it’s just the two of them.”
The Tortoise Garden has looked after thousands of unwanted, abandoned, injured and illegally imported tortoises.
It cares for dozens of species and all shapes and sizes of the shelled animals, and even provides a retirement home for elderly tortoises which are up to 120 years old.
The garden was set up by husband and wife Joy and Geoff Bloor 20 years ago and currently cares for 450 tortoises from 15 species in 60 pens.