Woman’s good deed surprises Super with new tortoise


Ryann Redinger

Jay Super will have to wait until his new tortoise is a little older to name it. It’s too small to determine its sex.

Wanting to downsize her reptile collection, Michelle Dusseau was looking for a home for her pet tortoise.

Dusseau was ready to put an ad on Craigslist to sell the tortoise she had had since June. That’s when she came across a Maizenews.com article about Jay Super’s class pet, Darwin, which died unexpectedly.

“I just decided to do a good deed for the holidays and give him [tortoise] a new home,” Dusseau said.

Pullquote Photo

This is the kindest, sweetest, most thoughtful thing anyone has ever done for me.’ ”

— Jay Super

Super said Dusseau, who lives in Viola, had no prior relationship with Maize before she gave him the tortoise.

“She just was a total stranger,” Super said. “I was like ‘Oh my God, this is the kindest, sweetest, most thoughtful thing anyone has ever done for me.’ ”

Super said that while the exact age of the tortoise is not known, it is older than Darwin was when she arrived at Maize.

“It’s the same species as Darwin, so it’s a leopard tortoise,” Super said. “Darwin was a hatchling, I mean she was a little one, but this one is a little bit older than a hatchling.

Super has not named the new tortoise, but he said he has a few ideas.

“My initial thought was go with a science name,” Super said. “Newton is a scientist, Galileo is a scientist, Tesla, Linneus.”

Super said he doesn’t want to rush into choosing a name while he doesn’t know the gender of the tortoise. He thought Darwin was a boy.

“I called him a him for 10 years,” Super said. “And then he started laying eggs, making the he a she. So I thought you could name it Tesla, and it’s nickname would be Nikola, or Nicole if it’s a girl. Maybe we’ll have a school-wide vote to name the new tortoise.”

Super said he was very appreciative of Dusseau’s gift.

“It was a horrible week last week, but this week is one of the best weeks I’ve ever had,” Super said.