Friday, October 19, 2012


Three-legged tortoise ‘Stumpy’ among 15 stolen reptiles recovered in Denver

Stumpy” the African Spurrred tortoise was one of 15 reptiles recovered when police found Phil Rakoci’s stolen SUV on Oct. 18, 2012. (Photo: Dan Gillett)

DENVER — Police indicated they had recovered a stolen SUV belonging to a man known as “Wildman Phil” Thursday morning. The vehicle had 15 reptiles inside.

Among those reptiles was “Stumpy,” a three-legged turtle who utilizes a wheel as a fourth leg, a 13-foot-long python, four other snakes, a snapping turtle, three tarantulas and a lizard.

Phil’s real name is Phil Rakoci, and he said he traveled to Denver from Casa Grande, Ariz. in his Chevrolet Suburban for a reptile convention this week. He said he made a stop at an Englewood Walmart, and when he exited the store his vehicle was gone.

A police spokesman indicated that authorities discovered the SUV abandoned at West Iliff Avenue and South Quitman Street at approximately 8:55 a.m. Thursday.

Rakoci will most certainly be relieved, considering his postings on Facebook at 4:47 a.m. Thursday: ”AMBER ALERT!” Rakoci wrote. “Stumpy the Tortoise has been kidnapped in the Denver area!”
Rakoci went on to say say he didn’t care about the car or the computer inside. He simply wanted to recover his reptiles. “We’re like family,” he wrote.

It seems only natural that Rakoci would feel a special tie to the three-legged tortoise.
According to Rakoci’s website, “Stumpy” was left on his front porch in a milk crate four years ago missing one of his two front legs. Rakoci said that he and “Fabricator” Ken Hillery clamped the 50-pound African Spurred tortoise in a vise for 24 hours and surgically attached a bracket and wheel to the outside of the reptile’s shell.  “Stumpy” has been wheeling around on the wheel for the past seven odd years.
(Thank you Valerie Chavez for forwarding this to me!)

What a relief to find out that Stumpy is home safe and secure!!  Those who have attended "Wildman Phil's" nature talk here in the park will understand how precious Stumpy is to all of us.  

I also chuckle when I think about the thieves who stole the truck.  Why do you suppose they abandoned the truck so quickly when they discovered the snakes and other critters inside?  HA!
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I know some folks complain about the grackles and how noisy they are, but they're a fascinating bird to watch as I've commented several times.  We watched this determined fella peck away until he found some goodies buried deep in the bag.  Trash day must mean FEAST day for these guys.


What a pretty view from home plate out on the ballfield.


Mr. Dawson invited us out for a closer view again today.  We watched them dig post holes for the ballfield fencing.



Progress continues at the pickleball courts.  All the fence topping is completed.  Now they're cleaning the surface of the courts for the exciting stage of putting on the top coat.


Here's the north pool during major maintenance on Thursday.



Just a day later, the lining has been poured and the pool is filled with water.



I tried to get a shot of Lillie and Jessie but they were too fast for me.  It will take a couple days now to filter out the plaster dust before they can add chemicals back to the pool.  


Wow.  All the post holes were finished today.  Now the posts get leveled and set in concrete.



Reseeding continues on the front nine of the golf course.  Mounds and mounds of our beautiful recycled soil are being used this year.  


Reseeding in the hard to reach places gets done by hand.


Faustino and our statue always have a shovel in hand!







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