Polk County man breeds giant tortoises

Did you know a Winter Haven man has been breeding rare Galapagos Islands Tortoises for years? 

“They're prehistoric looking they haven't changed a lot,” said breeder Wayne Hill.  

Native to the Galapagos Islands, these are the largest living tortoises in the world.  They are also considered a species vulnerable to extinction.  Due to government regulations there are restrictions on his sales. 

“I can only sell to people in Florida no interstate commerce on an endangered species,” he said. 

We met his seven breeder tortoises, and even a few of the babies.  They’re small now but come with a steep price tag, they run a few thousand dollars!  And speaking of running...

“I like the fact that there slow if they break out I can run them down at my age, they don’t have a chance,” he said. 

Watching them lumber around, it is like seeing a small slice of the islands hidden in a backyard in Polk County. 

“It is not a job for everyone, but it is one I enjoy,” Hill said.