Veruca is a male Russian Tortoise who lives inside Bear Pond Books in Montpelier, Vermont! When Veruca is not hibernating (we have long winters) he is posing for his fans on Instagram. Click to follow @VerucatheBookstoreTortoise. Veruca celebrates his birthday every April, and is about a quarter of a century old! Stop by the Children's Room today and say hello. You might catch him munching on his favorite foods: shredded carrots, lettuce, or, in the spring, fresh dandelions. 

Join us for Veruca's Birthyda Party on Saturday, April 30th! Click here to learn more.

photo by Kompas Design


Q: Is Veruca a turtle?  

A. Veruca is a tortoise. One important distinction between the two is, tortoises live only on land and turtles live on land and in water.  

Q: How old is Veruca?

A: We don't actually know but we're guessing he's at least 25 to 30 years old. Russian Tortoises can live 50 or more years. 

Q: Is Veruca a male or female?

A: When we first got him (he lived at Rivendell Books before moving to Bear Pond) we thought he was a girl, which is why we named him Veruca after Veruca Salt in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Later, we learned he is actually male. 

Q: Does Veruca hibernate? Does he go outside?

A: Veruca hibernates by burrowing into his hay to enjoy the dark. Some winters he hibernates for months, some not at all. He rarely goes outside but when he does, it's only in the summer. He does enjoy walks around the Children's Room for exercise now and then. 

Q: What does Veruca eat and drink?

A: Veruca is a vegetarian and enjoys vegetables such as carrots, lettuce, and dandelions. As a desert animal (originally), he does not drink water; instead he gets water from his food and by having a nice soak in the tub (no bubbles!). 

Q: How is Veruca handling his Instagram fame?

A: Veruca pretends to scorn social media, but we think he secretly enjoys being a celebrity. With that face, who wouldn't?

Q: Does Veruca like to read? 

A: Of course! Scroll down to see some of his favorite tortoise-inspired stories.

Tracking Tortoises: The Mission to Save a Galápagos Giant By Kate Messner, Jake Messner (Photographer) Cover Image
By Kate Messner, Jake Messner (Photographer)
ISBN: 9781541596115
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Millbrook Press (Tm) - September 7th, 2021

Memoirs of a Tortoise By Devin Scillian, Tim Bowers (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Devin Scillian, Tim Bowers (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781534110199
Availability: Will Ship in 1-5 Days from our Distributor
Published: Sleeping Bear Press - May 15th, 2020

Rodney Was a Tortoise By Nan Forler, Yong Ling Kang (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Nan Forler, Yong Ling Kang (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780735266629
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tundra Books - February 15th, 2022

Turtle and Tortoise Are Not Friends By Mike Reiss, Ashley Spires (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Mike Reiss, Ashley Spires (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780060740313
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperCollins - July 23rd, 2019

The Foolish Tortoise (The World of Eric Carle) By Richard Buckley, Eric Carle (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Richard Buckley, Eric Carle (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781416979166
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little Simon - March 10th, 2009

Life in the Slow Lane: A Desert Tortoise Tale By Conrad J. Storad, Storad Conrad, Nathaniel P. Jensen (Illustrator) Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781891795336
Published: Bobolink Media - December 15th, 2005