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One handsome tortoise: Franklin makes himself at home at Elbridge Free Library

When Karen White, director of Elbridge Free Library, heard her granddaughter was looking to re-home her box turtle, she knew she had the perfect place for him.

Franklin, so named for the famous children's book character Franklin the Turtle, now resides in a corner of the library, spending his days munching lettuce and basking under a heat lamp while library patrons come and go around him.

White said Franklin seems to be content with his new home.

"He seems happy as long as I keep lettuce in there," White said.

White added that because box turtles -- which are really tortoises, not turtles, and therefore live on land -- will grow to fit their surroundings, there's no telling how old Franklin is. His species can live up to 150 years.

Though Franklin is the first library pet EFL has had since White came to the facility in 1981, he is not the first non-human visitor the library has welcomed.

Murray and Magnum are just some of the familiar canine faces that make regular appearances at the library with their human companions, White said.

Curious patrons are welcome to take a closer look at Franklin, a rather laid back reptile, with adult supervision and a thorough hand-washing afterward. Just ask at the front desk about the library's newest arrival, and check out one of the many tortoise-related books afterward to learn more about Franklin's kind.

For those interested in more animal encounters, Zoo to You will visit EFL Wednesday July 22. Call the library for more information, 689-7111.

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