"Very few people have interacted intimately with a tortoise," says Jim Ferron.
By that, he means having one as a long-term pet.
His tortoise is Cha Cha.
Like turtles, they are reptiles from the order Testudines. But tortoises are land-based while turtles live in or around water.
Cha Cha is a 13-year-old leopard tortoise -- a strict vegetarian.
Ferron will alternatively refer to his pet as either "he" or "she."
He doesn't know his pet's sex.
But he does know what it likes.
"He-she approaches family and friends for attention much like a cat by walking up and rubbing against a leg."
Cha Cha loves greens of all sorts, "especially Southern greens, with an occasional toe nibble. Strawberries are the favorite treat."