He may slowly tiptoe to his food, but Tiptoe scarfs down meals like no other.

By Jessica Comstock
July 14, 2021
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woman feeding a green leaf to a large turtle
Credit: Courtesy of Caitlin Doran

While most of our childhood pets were adorable puppies or kittens, Caitlin Doran definitely had a more unique experience. When she was just seven years old, her family adopted Tiptoe, an African desert sulcata tortoise who now weighs 175 pounds! And ever since the two met, they've been inseparable.

In July 2020, after months of being unemployed, Doran decided to start creating videos of Tiptoe for Tiktok. Caitlin tells Daily Paws she was inspired by videos of other creators preparing meals for their human families and thought she could take a stab at creating her own.

"I was like, okay, I do this for Tiptoe all day anyway, so I might as well make a funny little video of it and post it so I can put some smiles on my friends' faces,'" Doran says.

Doran filmed and posted a minute-long video of serving Tiptoe lunch: a plate full of carrots, tomatoes, and cucumbers. And while the video shows Tiptoe slowly moseying to his food, he chomps it all down quickly.

In just an hour, the video gained over a million views! A year later, that same video has racked up over 12.2 million views and over 2 million likes. After the success of their first viral video, Doran continued sharing adorable videos of Tiptoe for their almost four million followers. Their TikTok is full of videos from shots of Tiptoe eating veggie charcuterie boards to meeting a group of Pomeranians to even receiving (and eating) a rose from The Bachelor's Matt James.

Sulcata tortoises typically live to be 80-120 years old, so at just 19 years old, Tiptoe is still young for his species. Doran has been by Tiptoe's side his entire life, and she plans on taking care of him for the rest of her life. Doran says whatever happens over the next decades, Tiptoe will be around for the ride.

"From the moment I got him, he has been by my side," Doran says. "He just makes me a better person and helps me recognize what's truly important in life."