People may not think of turtles or tortoises as friendly, responsive pets the way that cats and dogs might be, but a video that has garnered over a million views on YouTube since it was first uploaded in 2010 tells a different story. In the video, uploaded by someone with the user name “planetXplorer,” a couple kneels before what appears to be a concrete slab wedged into the earth with a burrow underneath it. A woman’s voice refers to it as “Taco’s burrow,” and she says they are going to call him. She says that Taco appears to be responding to their voice commands and they want to test it. The man and the woman both then begin coaxing Taco out.
Slowly, the little tortoise emerges and makes its way slowly toward one of their outstretched hands. He looks around curiously, and the woman comments that it is amazing that he or she is responding to their voices.
Taco hesitates for some moments, and then the tortoise slowly begins to make its way toward the outstretched hand again. Taco then bravely climbs up into the hand and is lifted up.
Although the couple is surprised by this behavior, at least one commenter on the video says this is not unusual. That commenter says that they had a box turtle who lived to be 36 and responded to voice as does their juvenile Hermann’s tortoise. According to this person, it depends upon the type of turtle or tortoise. Like other pets, they all have distinct personalities and are also very smart. However, they are independent enough that they cannot be trained like a dog.