A Japanese man and his adorable pet tortoise have become internet sensations after photos of them strolling along the streets of Tokyo went viral. The man – funeral director Mitani Hisao – revealed that the tortoise has been his pet for the past 19 years, taking the place of the child he never had.
Hisao added that the African spurred tortoise was a tiny baby, only five cm in diameter, when he first spotted it in a pet-store window. “I never had any children, but 19 years ago my wife caught the eyes of this little tortoise and felt an instant bond with him,” he said. “I couldn’t leave the store without it.” So they adopted the little creature, named it Bon-chan, and cared for it as they would a child.