Tortoise in a baby stroller a novelty even for New Yorkers

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Henry the tortoise lives a happy life in NYC with his stroller
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Tortoise in a baby stroller a novelty even for New Yorkers
Henry, an African spurred tortoise, walks in the grass of Central Park as his walker Amalia McCallister sits in New York, U.S., May 19, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
The arm of Henry, an African spurred tortoise, hangs out of his stroller on 110th street as a child looks on in New York, U.S., May 19, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Henry, an African spurred tortoise, peeks out of his stroller on 110th street in New York, U.S., May 19, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Henry, an African spurred tortoise, walks in Central Park in New York, U.S., May 19, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
A woman takes a photo of Henry, an African spurred tortoise, as he looks out of his stroller on 110th street in New York, U.S., May 19, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Henry, an African spurred tortoise, walks in the grass of Central Park in New York, U.S., May 19, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Henry, an African spurred tortoise, walks in the grass of Central Park as his walker Amalia McCallister watches in New York, U.S., May 19, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Henry, an African spurred tortoise, walks in the grass of Central Park as his walker Amalia McCallister sits in New York, U.S., May 19, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Henry, an African spurred tortoise, sits in the grass of Central Park as his owner Amanda Green looks on in New York, U.S., May 19, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Henry, an African spurred tortoise, walks in the grass of Central Park as his walker Amalia McCallister sits in New York, U.S., May 19, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City is filled with oddities that can surprise even the most die-hard New Yorkers and when Henry the tortoise turned up in a stroller in Central Park this week for his daily outing it turned more than a few heads.

The 17 pound (7.7 kg) sulcata tortoise is the pet of 24-year-old Amanda Green who lives in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan. He led a reclusive existence until Green took to Craigslist to advertise for a tortoise walker.

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New Yorkers are accustomed to dog walkers but no so much tortoise walkers, so Green expected only a few responses.

Instead, the listing went viral and hundreds of people from all over the world applied for the $10-an-hour job.

"Just like a person who has a dog would hire a dog walker, I figured why not a tortoise walker?" Green said in an interview with Reuters TV.

"It took on a life of its own ... I heard from about 500," said Green, a copywriter for a style and beauty website.

Henry the tortoise takes a Central Park walk

The job went to Amalia McCallister, who has experience from having worked in a pet store.

"You honestly do have to keep your eye on him," McCallister said, describing the job as fun and not too taxing. "I could, maybe, read a book, but you've got to make sure he doesn't eat the wrong thing."

Sulcata tortoises are native to north central Africa but they adapt well to different environments. Land-dwelling reptiles with a shell, they are mainly herbivores. Henry, who is taken to the park by stroller and then allowed to roam free, particularly likes dandelions and grass.

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Tortoise in a baby stroller a novelty even for New Yorkers
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Resident Chris Roland walks his pet turtles Cindy (L) and Kuka up Madison Avenue in the Upper East Side of the Manhattan borough of New York September 4, 2014. Roland has had the turtles for years and walks them daily he said. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri (UNITED STATES - Tags: SOCIETY ANIMALS)
Jason Loewenstein cleans up after his pet pig, Emmett, while taking the animal for a walk in New York March 8, 2012. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES - Tags: ANIMALS SOCIETY)
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French bulldog Watson is wheeled to a ring for judging at the 2016 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in the Manhattan borough of New York City, February 15, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Henry, an African spurred tortoise, walks in the grass of Central Park as his walker Amalia McCallister sits in New York, U.S., May 19, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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He has amassed an online fanbase with more than 5,000 Instagram followers and nearly 300 likes on Facebook for his profile: "The Notortoise BIG". The profile's name is a play on the stage name used by the late rapper Christopher Wallace, who called himself Biggie Smalls and The Notorious B.I.G.

Green adopted Henry a couple of years ago from a woman who was unable to manage her growing family and the tortoise. She said Henry is friendly and curious but needs lots of attention.

Green said she knows that Henry will one day outgrow her apartment. Male sulcata tortoises can reach a length of more than 30 inches (76 cm) and tip the scales at up to 200 pounds (90 kg).

"Am I going to somehow get a backyard in New York City?" Green asked. "These animals do need exercise so it is really great that I have a walker now."

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