Viral Video of Sprinting Tortoises Has Internet in an Uproar

A video appearing to show a group of tortoises quickly sprinting in circles in Disneyland has gone viral on Twitter, having been viewed more than 12 million times as of Saturday morning.

The video was created using computer-generated imagery (CGI)—a popular form of animation—by artist Vernon James Manlapaz and first appeared on his Instagram profile. In the clip, the turtles run in circles at the Avengers Campus.

The video posted on Twitter Wednesday by an account called @LovePower_page with the caption "aww they're having fun!"

aww they're having fun! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜Š

pic.twitter.com/TSDoCaXCJM

— LovePower (@LovePower_page) September 1, 2021

In the comments, many people were quick to point out that the video is animated—and that tortoises, a notoriously slow animal, cannot actually run that fast. Viewers also praised the video's CGI for being so lifelike that it managed to trick some people into thinking it is real.

"This is very difficult to tell if it is CGI considering how seamless it looks. nothing about thinking this is real makes one gullible," wrote one Twitter user, @flynimaboy.

"I'm faking images all the time and that's not easy at all. This video is almost perfect," said @AmmarZufar.

"I watched it multiple times trying to find a glitch or something but NOTHING!! It looks so real!" @diahmEvans commented.

Even though the video is not real, Twitter users still had fun with it. Users reposted the clip with different sounds, including the Super Mario Brothers theme song—some comparing the tortoises to Koopa Troopa—and the song "Roman Holiday" by Nicki Minaj.

"2021 is getting even weirder day by day," wrote @Zac_Ankeet.

Manlapaz said in an interview with Newsweek that he was surprised to see the video go viral. He said he has received a lot of positive response pertaining to its technical aspects, including the animation.

"I wasn't expecting it to go viral, and I don't even know who posted it," he said.

Manlapaz creates and posts CGI videos showing animals in impossible scenarios on his Instagram account @vernbestintheworld. Some clips he posted recently from Disneyland include one of giant elephants floating over Star Wars' Galaxy Edge, and another of fish floating through the park.

Another recent video shows a rhinoceros walking around Central Park.

Manlapaz said the videos started as personal projects in late 2015 and that he does them to learn and improve his animation skills. Inspiration for him comes from everywhere, he said.

A few weeks before making the video, he found inspiration in a nature show he was watching that featured turtles. For the background, he used a photo he took in Disneyland in June.

He said he enjoys his work that puts "familiar things in unfamiliar situations."

"It's always starting with 'what if,'" he said. "Like 'What if turtles were fast? What if fish could swim on land?' The idea is taking something ordinary into something extraordinary."

Tortoises cannot run as fast as they do in the video. In fact, they typically run up to 0.13 to 0.3 miles per hour, according to neeness.com, a website that provides information about common pets. The fastest ever tortoise is named Bertie and ran at a speed of 0.6 miles per hour to get to some strawberries in 1977, according to Reptiles magazine.

Some turtles, however, are faster. The snapping turtle can reach more than 150 miles per hour in extremely short bursts—under one second. Softshell turtle are the fastest land turtle at 3 miles per hour, according to turtleowner.com.

Updated 12:32 PM ET, with comment from Manlapaz.

Tortoise
A viral video shows a CGI depiction of tortoises running in circles at a Disneyland attraction. Here, a real-life tortoise is measured at London Zoo on August 26. TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images