45 Year-Old Tortoise Rescued After Starting Fire In Owner's Home

A tortoise is not the most likely animal to survive a house fire, especially when it has played an active part at setting said house on fire. Yet, the Independent reports that such a miracle took place in Essex, Great Britain — appropriately enough, on Christmas Day. The unnamed 45-year-old pet tortoise was hanging around in its crib when it managed to knock down a heat lamp. As luck would have it, the lamp landed directly in the tortoise's bedding, which did what dry, rapidly heating things tend to do and caught fire. This didn't bode well for the tortoise, an animal that is pretty much the slowest pet you can imagine, and therefore notoriously bad at things like "evacuating a burning house at speed." 

Wait, hold on. Isn't this supposed to be a feel-good story? 

The tortoise and the smoke alarm

Fortunately, yes, this particular piece of news has a happy ending that doesn't involve an extra-crispy amphibian. The house was equipped with smoke alarms, and the neighbors were quick to call the fire officials once things started going all smokey and screamy. When the fire brigade arrived, the house was already full of smoke, but the fire itself was still contained to a single room and quickly put out. 

As for the tortoise, it was rescued without damage, and as the fire station's watch manager put it, the animal had a "very lucky Christmas Day." The fire station manager did note that the animal looked somewhat angry, but hey, can you blame it? Some stupid human invention had just burned down its bed on Christmas. For more reason than one, this is an animal that deserves more than a lump of coal next Christmas — assuming it doesn't try and commit any more highly illegal acts of arson.