Animal welfare charities have recently reported a disturbing new trend in instances of cruelty to tortoises. Certain individuals have taken to waiting for them to go into hibernation and then 'bricking up their shells'. Although the animals remain quite comfortable and secure during the winter months, come spring they become confused and disorientated as they attempt to emerge only to find that their entrances have been blocked by several courses of badly pointed brickwork.
"It's a very distressing experience for them," said welfare officer Miriam Lettuce. "They go into a panic and try to force their way out through the leg holes. And even when they do manage to get out, many of them are so traumatised that they abandon their shells completely and live the rest of their lives as fat lizards."