Pet tortoise found after a year on run

He might be a little shell-shocked.

But pet tortoise Andy-Bob is no worse for wear after a year-long break in the north Northumberland countryside –ending up a mile away from his home.

Ella Holland with her escapologist tortoise Andy-Bob.'Picture Jane Coltman

Ella Holland with her escapologist tortoise Andy-Bob.'Picture Jane Coltman

The beloved pet of seven-year-old Ella Holland, went missing a year ago and was presumed dead, after escaping from his Brunton garden home.

Ella’s dad Mick thought the reptile had been washed away by the stream at the bottom of their land.

Little did they know that the horsefield tortoise had just decided to take a long stroll around the countryside.

The five-year-old reptile was found on the road between Christon Bank and Fallodon Sawmill by a family friend.

He had travelled at least a mile, crossed three fields, a stream and possibly a railway line – but no one knows where exactly he has been.

A little underweight, Andy is now enjoying life back in his garden and Ella is delighted to have him back.

Mick said: “That tortoise could tell some story. I honestly presumed he was dead. Five yards away from his pen there is a stream and I thought he had just been washed away.

“It’s remarkable. All the fields he crossed had cattle and sheep in them.

“And of course there was the winter, but thankfully that was mild.”

Ella was given Andy-Bob as a present from Father Christmas when she was three.

He was her faithful friend and dad Mick said she treated him like a dog.

“She took him to the garden for walks and even made him go for a ‘toilet’,” he said.

“When he disappeared she was devastated. He must have dug under the pen to get out. We just thought he was gone and that was it.

“Then a friend of ours, whose children go to Ellingham First School with Ella, was driving home after the morning school-run and saw the tortoise walking on the side of the road.

“The next day at school it was mentioned and Ella said her tortoise had escaped a year ago, it than transpired that it was Andy-Bob.

“She is happier than happy can be about having him back.

“We never ever thought that we would see him again.

“If only tortoises could talk – he’d have a good story.”

Andy-Bob has been into school for a show-and-tell with Ella and her friends, and the Hollands are now hoping his adventures are over and he’ll be happy back in his garden pen.

Tortoises like Andy have a top speed of around 0.3mph.

The average adult walks at around three mph, which means that even at top speed the tortoise would be at least ten times slower.

But Andy’s journey will not have been a speedy one.

Not only did he have to manoeuvre through fields, and avoid livestock and other predators, especially at night-time, but he probably also climbed up and over the railway line – which would be akin to climbing a hill for humans – and crossed a stream.