WEIRD NEWS

Mating Tortoises Cause Fire: Alf, Glayner Clayton's Pets Start Blaze Doing The Slow And Steady

03/06/2013 03:46 pm ET

Slow and steady burns down the house.

An English couple believes that their pet tortoises' mating ritual was responsible for the fire that destroyed their conservatory and garage, the Evening Gazette reported.

Alf Clayton, of Thornaby, Stockton-on-Tees, told the paper that the two animals, Henry and Alice, had recently woken up from hibernation. Henry "was trying to mate with his partner," chasing her around the tortoise den.

A Cleveland Fire Brigade spokesman attributed the fire to a toppled incubator lamp that set fire to the woodchips surrounding it. Clayton says Henry "must have knocked the heater over" during his lustful pursuit.

Both tortoises perished in the blaze which was put out before it reached the house.

Clayton said his wife, Gayner Clayton, was "devastated" by the loss of the pets. "We tried our best to save them" he told the Gazette, "but the blaze was too fierce."

This isn't the first time animal courtship has gone wrong. In 2010, a male eagle was killed and a female injured when an acrobatic aerial mating dance went horribly awry, causing both birds to plummet into a snowbank beak-first.

And in June, a cow and bull having sex on a Pennsylvania highway caused a major traffic jam when they just wouldn't mooove out of the road.

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