Tortoise turns up nearly a year after disappearance

A Swanage family has been surprised and delighted after their missing tortoise miraculously appeared in their garden as if he’d never been away, after being on the run since last July 2019.

Last summer, there was a spate of tortoises escaping from gardens across Swanage and Sprout the tortoise was among them. He had been in his garden enclosure, when it’s believed he made a bid for freedom by burrowing under the wire. 

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Spent weeks looking for him

The Abbott family in Bay Crescent spent weeks looking for him, listening out for his familiar foraging sound among the long grass and dandelions.

Eventually they had to sadly conclude that he had been whisked away by a badger or a fox, both regular visitors to the garden. 

Sprout the tortoise found under a hedge
Caroline Abbott

Sprout the tortoise is found under a hedge in Bay Crescent

Then on Friday 29th May 2020, while gardening, Caroline Abbott was amazed when she spotted Sprout happily munching away under her hedge. She said: 

“He was just sitting there, a bit covered in mud but otherwise without a care in the world, after we’d given up on ever seeing him again. With lockdown easing, perhaps he thought it would be safe to join the family in the garden!

“We’ve taken advice from a vet, so we’ll be regularly weighing him to make sure he puts on weight after his exploits. He may need worming and some added calcium to his diet but otherwise he appears fine. It’s really cheered everyone up to have him back home”

Sprout the tortoise covered in mud
Caroline Abbott

Sprout was found covered in mud after his adventure

Sprout the tortoise being weighed
Caroline Abbott

A good method of ensuring your tortoise is healthy is to monitor their weight

Ironically after ten months of freedom, it’s lockdown now for Sprout as his garden run will be reinforced, so he won’t be escaping anytime soon under the wire!

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