HAYDON BRIDGE, England — A runaway tortoise has turned up two years later, crawling around an equestrian center five miles away from her home.
Jemima the tortoise managed to make a slow getaway from the home of Charles Waddell in May 2021, leaving his eight-year-old daughter Beatrice devastated.
The family spent months looking for the 50-year-old pet every day as well as making appeals on social media, but Jemima was nowhere to be found.
They eventually gave up hope of seeing the reptile alive again – until they spotted a Facebook post last week about a tortoise being found and taken to a vet.
After phoning the vet and sending them a picture of Jemima, they were stunned when they confirmed it was their missing pet.
Beatrice, now ten, has since been reunited with Jemima – more than two years after she escaped from their home in Haydon Bridge, England.
“We were all devastated when she went missing,” said Charles, Dad-of-three, a lawyer and university lecturer.
“We inherited Jemima from my father when he passed away in 2016. He was known for keeping tortoises, and she was found wandering lost 25 years ago.
“She must be around 50 and possibly even older now, and she’s been part of the family for many years.
“One day in May 2021 she managed to get out, and they move a lot quicker than you think – she definitely outfoxed us,” said Charles
“I don’t know how she’s managed to survive the winters, but she does hibernate, so I think she must have managed to settle down somewhere and just shut down.
“She’s obviously managed to keep herself well-fed as well.
“We couldn’t believe it when somebody alerted us to the fact she had been found. We recognized her straight away on Facebook.
“Somebody had remembered our appeals and posted asking whether this could be the missing tortoise.
“She had been found up at an equestrian center around five miles away.
“It turns out that a farmer had found her in a field and thought she was a rock – the farmer’s kids wanted to keep her but handed her over to vets.
“We called the vets in Morpeth and proved it was our pet by sending them photos, and we were able to collect her, much to the delight of Beatrice.
“She has lived nine lives, and we are very lucky to have her back. We never gave up but after not seeing her for so long we didn’t think we would see her again.
“Beatrice was thrilled to have Jemima back, and she can join her other friend Georgina in the back garden in a secure and upgraded pen.”
“We had originally been close to finding Jemima just six weeks after she went missing before she managed to give them the slip for a second time,” said Charles.
Charles, who lives with his wife Belinda, Beatrice, and their two other children Alice, 16, and Charles, 11, added: “We had posted on Facebook about what had happened.
“About four to six weeks later an online post said a tortoise had been found on the road about half a mile from our house.
“We tracked down the person who had found her only to be told that she had been taken to the nearest house but as nobody was in they had left her in the garden.
“So she had wandered off again. Every day we looked for her, but she was not on the property and likely moved on.
“We would go out after school each day and check fields and by the roadside, but we knew we’d have to get very lucky to ever see her again.
“We just can’t believe it. It was wonderful to be able to see Beatrice so happy again as she was really distraught when she went missing.
“She has certainly been on a real adventure for the last couple of years, and we’ll be keeping a closer eye on her from now on.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
Edited by Judy J. Rotich and Virginia Van Zandt
“What’s the latest with Florida Man?”
Get news, handpicked just for you, in your box.