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Man takes giant tortoise on daily walks

A Japanese man and his giant African tortoise have gotten used to turning heads when they go on walks in Tokyo.
A Japanese man and his giant African tortoise have gotten used to turning heads when they go on walks in Tokyo.

TOKYO -- A Japanese man and his giant African tortoise have gotten used to turning heads when they go on walks in Tokyo.

Hisao Mitani, 62, says he's been taking his pet Bon-Chan on daily walks for years.

Mitani has had the tortoise, which his wife got from a pet store, for about 20 years. But it's only recently that he became an internet sensation when photos of the two walking around downtown Tokyo went viral.

Mitani, who is a funeral parlor owner, says the naturally sweet-tempered tortoise has also helped with business. He says that when families who are sad come to his store, they see Bon-Chan and smile.

Bon-Chan, who regularly chomps on vegetables and fruits, including apples, probably weighs about 154 pounds, said Mitani. He expects the tortoise to grow even bigger.

Mitani, who has no children, says that Bon-Chan will probably outlive him and his wife. He wants someone in his neighborhood to eventually adopt the tortoise.