The Tale of the Tortoise and the Hare – Friendship at the Ritz-Carlton

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The Ritz-Carlton in Dove Mountain, Arizona is home to several desert animals including an African tortoise named Wamba.

Wamba lives a happy life, spending the long summer days munching on grasses as tortoises love to do.

Her other favorite activity is being sprawled out, basking in the sun.

When the Sonoran desert nights get cold and crisp, she hurries to get home to her heated enclosure before the sun sets. Once safely in her home she can sleep in warm comfort.

Over President’s Day Weekend, Wamba returned to her cozy house just as the sunlight was waning, and settled in for the night. Suddenly, she was joined by an unexpected visitor. A tiny baby bunny, not more than four inches long, snuggled up against Wamba.

The gentle giant took kindly to her house guest and remained very still for the rest of the night so as not to scare off the furry creature.

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Photo credit: Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain

Ranger Brian arrived with the morning light to give Wamba her breakfast, when he spotted the surprise guest. He saw that the tiny bunny had a ring of matted grass and leaves around his neck, constricting his airflow.

Brian started to gently lift the bunny up to remove the tightly wound bundle, but Wamba felt protective. The huge tortoise grunted her concerns repeatedly for the barely two-week-old bunny, letting Brian know she preferred to keep the furry guy at her side. The tortoise and the hare had become fast friends overnight.

The debris was removed and the bunny promptly returned.

Since the bunny was so young, the Rangers wanted to nurse him back to health before he went back into the wild, and the bunny’s care was shared between the Rangers and the wise tortoise.

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Photo credit: Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain

The bunny frolicked and played as he got stronger, all under the watchful eyes of Wamba who was never far away.

Photo credit: Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain

Photo credit: Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain

After returning to full health and being released back into the wild, the Ritz-Carlton says that if the bunny comes back and prefers the company of his tortoise friend, they’ll make sure he has a permanent home in the resort near Wamba.

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