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Testudo Mascot Statue The Scene Of Fire On UMD Campus

Testudo's nose is shiny from decades of students rubbing his nose for luck.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/40354892@N08/8473530493
Testudo's nose is shiny from decades of students rubbing his nose for luck.

The 1,000-pound bronze statue of Testudo, University of Maryland's terrapin mascot, was the scene of a fire early Wednesday morning.

Rubbing the diamondback terrapin's nose is supposed to bring good luck. And during finals week, students place "offerings" on the statue, which has sat outside of McKeldin Library since the 1960s.

A photo posted on the University of Maryland Reddit earlier this week shows the statue adorned with dozens of such offerings, including a lei and it's own fully-lit Christmas tree.

It was those offerings which fueled the fire, though the cause is still unknown at this time. Officers responded to reports of a fire at approximately 1 a.m., but found the fire extinguished when they arrived.

"Malicious intent has not been ruled out and the case is under investigation," said Major Marc Limansky with the University of Maryland Police Department.

Nobody was hurt in the incident, including Testudo himself, according to University President Wallace Loh.

"I am happy to report that there was no damage to Testudo in front of McKeldin," Loh said in a tweet. "Testudo is ready to continue supporting our #UMD community!"

It's not the first time that Testudo has been the victim of a crime. According to his official history on the University of Maryland website:

At first, Testudo had his perch in front of Ritchie Coliseum. Unfortunately, this relatively open spot soon became the scene of multiple crimes against the unguarded mascot, including painting, defacing the pedestal, and kidnapping. In 1947, when Testudo was captured by Johns Hopkins students, many Maryland students rushed to Baltimore and laid siege the building where the mascot was held. Even though 200 police were called to control the riot, the "siege" quickly turned into a party.

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