A 9-month-old baby, dressed head-to-toe in cowboy gear, riding a tortoise seems ironclad in its adorableness, right? Almost. Some folks on the internet found a way to be outraged.
People Found A Way To Be Mad At A Baby Cowboy Riding A Tortoise
Charlene underscored the footage with Brooks and Dunn's "Ride 'em High, Ride 'em Low," a song about riding a "bat outta hell" bronco. Which, admittedly is funny in the context of a baby riding a tortoise. She uploaded it to Facebook, and the video instantly went viral, gaining more than 10 million views to date.
Did you watch it? Cute right? But also, uh oh. What if Jorge the Tortoise doesn't want a baby cowboy to ride him? That is the question that set off the controversy. Folks in the comments were concerned about how the tortoise felt. Was baby Blake Shell-don too heavy? (Sorry, we had too.)
It's a fair question. But, according to Scientific American tortoise shells are pretty dang tough. The shell has three main parts: the top carapace, the bottom plastron, and the bridge that fuses these pieces together. You can't see them, but every tortoise has ribs, a collar bone, and a spine inside its shell. That top shell varies in thickness from an eighth to a quarter of an inch — according to the age and size of the animal — and weigh from 5-25 pounds.
Added to this, people have been riding turtles for centuries. Charles Darwin has numerous entries in this research that recount him standing on the turtles. He muses, that there's no damage to the shell, the tortoises don't seem to mind it, but he does struggle with his balance quite a bit.
So if it doesn't hurt the them, the question becomes do the tortoises care? That's a very valid question. Who are we, as humans, to hitch a ride? What right do we have? Is it natural? Those arguments are too deep for the Cuteness team. But we'll leave you with this, even if there were no humans to goof things up tortoises would still have to deal with giving an unexpected ride to other animals. Like for instance, this seal.