'Escape artist' tortoise found wandering across Amounderness Way four years after going missing

The 50-year-old reptile was reunited with his owners in Blackpool after being tagged in a Facebook post

By Lucinda Herbert
Wednesday, 2nd February 2022, 11:53 am
Updated Wednesday, 2nd February 2022, 4:42 pm

A 50 year-old tortoise has been reunited with his owners after being missing for four years.

The family pet, called Fred, was found crossing Amounderness Way years after escaping from his garden.

A fence had blown down during a storm in 2018 and owner, Matt Thomas, had not noticed his pet was gone.

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Tortoise found crossing Amounderness Way in Blackpool is reunited with his owners

And as the years rolled on, 21 year old Matt assumed he had been killed.

He said: When you lose a pet it’s devastating but then to find out he might be alive its just so weird.

"We were just so excited to see him. The first hour or two he was a bit nervous but now it’s like he never left.”

Mother, Georgina Rogerson, a nurse at Trinity Hospice, was tagged in a post on Facebook on January 20, 2022.

She recognised a distinct marking on his shell.

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She picked him up as all the traffic was having to swerve out of the way. She said: “I couldn’t help but think someone was going to run him over and I couldn’t just carry on.”

She had tried to track down the owner a few times but had no luck.

Sara went to the Reptile Room on Anchorsholme Lane, who identified the 50 year old male, but he wasn’t microchipped.

So she read up on how to care for him. She said on Facebook: “The original owners must miss him terribly. If nobody does come forward we will continue to care for the tortoise.”

She worked out his favourite foods are strawberries and iceberg lettuce.

She even bought a vivarium and heat lamp - a new-fangled luxury for the old reptile who dad, Ian Thomas bought for 50p in 1973.

“They didn’t have equipment in those days, so he just got used to roaming around the house. He’d sit by the radiator if he felt cold, and he went in the garden when I let the dog out for a wee.”

Fred had gone walkabouts a few times, but always found his way back to his home.

“He’s a little escape artist. He’d often end up in back gardens down the street. He’s not as slow as you’d think”

He is sticking with the modern way of living - with no chance of escape.

“We bought the vivarium and heat lamp off the woman, so he’s staying in there now. I’ve never seen a tortoise in an enclosure but he seems happy.”