Why strawberries help train giant tortoises

A ZOO is claiming to be able train a 30-stone tortoise with patience, strawberries and a red plastic ball on a stick.

Three giant tortoises from the Seychelles are being taught "positive reinforcement" by keepers at Paignton Zoo Environmental Park, in Devon.

Mike Bungard, curator of lower vertebrates and invertebrates, said: "The treat can be something like peaches or tomatoes or strawberries. They seem to like the colour red. When a female VIP came to watch the training, the tortoises followed her feet because she had red nail varnish on."

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Such training is used with many animals, to collect blood samples from primates or check an elephant's foot, without the need for darting, handling or separating them from their group.