Testudo, the 1000-pound bronze turtle that serves as the statuary version of the University of Maryland’s mascot, was in flames yesterday morning. Which begs two questions: Firstly, bronze burns? And secondly, who would do such a thing?
Traditionally, anxious/superstitious Terps will leave offerings of textbooks, notes, flowers, and beers around Testudo, especially during final exam week. According to the Washington Post, it was that detritus that was in flames, not so much Testudo himself. (A library employee was able to put the fire out without much damage to the statue.)
The statue has long been at the center of various pranks, many of them initiated by Johns Hopkins students, who had a long tradition of kidnapping the previous version of the statue — at least until it was filled with 700 pounds of cement. (The new bronze version dates from 1992, and is even heavier.)
Campus police have determined that the fire was accidental. I find that hard to believe.
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