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Pythagoras is the star of tortoise cam to help St Mary’s School pupils during lockdown




Pythagoras has been a hit on tortoise cam at St Mary's School, Cambridge. Picture: Henry Bertram
Pythagoras has been a hit on tortoise cam at St Mary's School, Cambridge. Picture: Henry Bertram

A tortoise cam has been a calming diversion for St Mary's School, Cambridge pupils during lockdown.

Pythagoras - Pythag for short - is owned by maths teacher Henry Bertram and has been featuring online.

Four-year-old Pythag, who was given to Mr Bertram by one of his maths classes when the tortoise was just a few months old, has been watched wandering around his pen and eating a healthy breakfast of salad of lamb's lettuce and pea shoots, garnished with viola flowers and a sprinkling of calcium powder.

Mr Bertram said: “I really enjoy watching Pythag roam around – it's really relaxing and interesting to watch what he does each day. He is really surprising in lots of ways – for example, it's absolutely untrue that tortoises can't move quickly, although they do like to rest a lot in between their bursts of speed.

“He is also an amazing climber – after many attempts he has finally figured out how to scale the vertical wall of his enclosure and escape onto the windowsill. Now we let him roam around much more, and in lockdown he probably walks further than I do on some days.”

Pythagoras has been a hit on tortoise cam at St Mary's School, Cambridge. Picture: Henry Bertram
Pythagoras has been a hit on tortoise cam at St Mary's School, Cambridge. Picture: Henry Bertram

He added: “I can't always do the tortoise cam – when I find him in the morning, he has often escaped and is clearly in need of a runaround. But when he's still there, it's really calming to watch him shuffling around and eating his breakfast.”

Pets have been very welcome at St Mary’s as a means of improving the mental health and well-being of both staff and students. During the school’s ‘Well-Being at Work Week’ in March, staff were treated to a visit by golden retriever Sunny, and a retired guide dog – a black Labrador called Texas.


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