Hundreds respond to ad seeking NYC tortoise walker

NEW YORK --New Yorkers like to brag they've seen it all. But in Central Park, there's one thing that still turns heads. Cowards stop in their tracks, while the brave inch closer.

His name is Henry, and he's an African tortoise.

"There's something very Zen about him. People just slow down and relax," says his owner, Amanda Green.

She's had him for a couple years now, but lately she's been feeling guilty that she can't bring him to the park as often as she would like.

"So I wanted to hire a walker, just like a person with a dog would hire a dog walker," Green said.

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She posted an ad on Craigslist that read: "In search of a responsible animal lover...no tortoise experience necessary."

"I have a love for animals, especially reptiles," one response read. "I find anything that can't regulate its own body temperature endearing."

Green said she was hoping maybe two or three people would apply, but instead she got nearly 400 emails -- from as far away as Australia.

It's not even a full time job. "No it's not, it's like 6 hours a week," Green said.

It's not exactly just a trip to the park and back. "No, he strolls to the park in a stroller because otherwise it would take a long time," she explained. "I have a stroller for him, to get him to the park."

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Amanda Green walks her tortoise Henry to Central Park in a stroller CBS News

Now that's an ugly baby. The whole thing creates such a spectacle, Green said, often the hardest part of the job is controlling the paparazzi. But the applicants were not dissuaded.

"I'm currently taking care of an 11-year-old boy, so I know what it's like to try to keep track of something," one applicant said.

"I'd like to hang out with a tortoise," said another.

Eventually, Green narrowed it down to four. Finally, she settled on a part-time pet store worker named Amalia. She starts next week.

"I'm not going to get a nanny-cam," Green declared. But if she does, CBS News has permission for a follow-up story.

Should be riveting.

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  • Steve Hartman
    Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.