Smoking tortoise found in China

Beijing, March 27:

A tortoise that smokes and appears to be addicted to nicotine has been discovered in China’s northeastern province of Jilin, state media reported today.

The animal is the pet of a man, identified by his surname Yun, who is himself a smoker, Xinhua news agency said, quoting a local newspaper.

One day, Yun teased the tortoise by putting a cigarette butt into its mouth, and to his surprise it started to smoke it, according to the news agency. From then on, he shared his cigarettes with his pet, Xinhua said.

“It seems to have become addicted,” Yun was quoted as saying. “Whenever I smoke in front of it, it will stick its head out of the water and fidget about until I give it the stub.”

Yun proved his claim by putting a cigarette in the tortoise’s mouth in front the paper’s reporter and his neighbours, Xinhua quoted the newspaper as saying.

To everyone’s surprise, the tortoise finished it in less than four minutes, the news agency said.

Monkeys have been know to smoke in imitation of human beings, the deputy secretary-general of Jilin’s Wildlife Conservation Society told Xinhua. But he said he had never heard of a tortoise lighting up.