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Runaway tortoise reunited with family

RSPCA officers who looked after Freddie determined she was female and in her 70s – much to her owners’ surprise.

(RSPCA)
(RSPCA)

An elderly tortoise has been reunited with her family after a post on Facebook.

The spur-thighed tortoise, thought to be about 75, scarpered when her owners were on holiday and was found wandering the streets in Staines, Surrey, by a member of the public.

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(RSPCA)

The pet’s owner, 61-year-old Peter Laney, was in Montenegro when he received a message from a friend alerting him to a news story about the tortoise, whose name is Freddie.

“We were on holiday when we got messages off friends sharing the Facebook post and newspaper articles and asking if this was our tortoise,” he said.

“My daughter, who was looking after Freddie whilst we were away, went straight round there and found the back gate open and Freddie had gone.

“When we got back off holiday we gathered all the photos of Freddie we had, some dating back to the 60s, and showed them to the officer.”

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This picture of Freddie (right) in the 1960s suggests she could be as old as 75 (RSPCA)

Pete Yarde, the animal welfare officer who had been caring for Freddie, had a couple of bits of surprising news for Mr Laney and his wife Mandy upon their return.

Not only is Freddie female – not male as they had always believed – she is also around 10 to 15 years older than they thought she was.

Mr Laney said: “I thought she was about 60 but the RSPCA officer said from the picture in the 60s, Freddie is already quite big there and could easily be 10 or 15 in that picture already which would make her about 75 now.”

Mr and Mrs Laney have looked after Freddie since his father died eight years ago.

PA

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