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A Runaway Tortoise Did Not Get Very Far

Yes, this is the news today. Deal with it.

Even though this article will inevitably lead to a flood of ‘slow news day???’ Facebook comments, this is an important story with crucial public interest for all tortoise owners out there who might have lost their tortoise almost a year ago. It’s an important message about never losing hope and also about maybe putting in a modicum of effort to find your tortoise because it probably hasn’t gone that far.

You see, a runaway tortoise in the UK has been found after almost a year. Well, it’s probably a bit of an exaggeration to call it a ‘runaway’ tortoise given that after almost 12 months on the ‘run’ it was found only 800m from its owner’s house. Which means it travelled at a rate of approximately 0.00009132 km/hr (assuming this writer still remembers his Year 8 maths). That’s pretty slow. To put it into context, the tortoise could have run 438 times faster and still been able to legally travel through an Australian school zone.

Almost a year ago, the tortoise, Maxi, managed to scale a 12-inch fence that surrounded his enclosure. Which is a pretty incredible effort when you consider that he has a vertical leap of precisely zero inches.

After almost a year of being on the crawl, a couple of dog walkers found him in the middle of a neighbouring field and took to Facebook to see if they could track down the owner.

"We made sure to ask the possible owners to describe their tortoise and send pictures first so we could make sure we would definitely give it to the rightful owner - we were wary that people might just claim it to be theirs," one of Maxi’s saviours (or capturers, depending on how you look at it) told The Mirror.

Eventually, Maxi was returned to his rightful owner, Ruaidhri Jukes, who was able to identify Maxi by a small chip on his shell. Amazingly, it turns out that this is not the first time Maxi has made a run for it. "[Maxi] has escaped before and been missing for a similar length of time,” Jukes told The Mirror. Well, in that case, BUILD A BIGGER FENCE, RUAIDHRI.

Anyway, the big takeaways from this story are:

  • If your tortoise has run away and it’s been a year, maybe have a look around the 800m radius of your home.
  • Sometimes a 12-inch fence just isn’t going to cut it. Size matters.

So, for all those people claiming this is a ‘slow news day’ well, it is. Specifically, it’s news travelling at 0.00009132 km/hr.