Wigan family's tortoise has one shell of a week after going missing!

A Wigan tortoise has had a week to remember after going missing for a week before a big reunion with his family!v

Thursday, 15th July 2021, 9:03 am
Updated Thursday, 15th July 2021, 12:53 pm

Fred, a 14-year-old Turkish Spur Thighed Tortoise, disappeared from his garden in Standish last week, leading to days of desperate searches across the town.

And Fred’s owner Emma Appleton was shell-shocked to receive a call seven days later, after he was spotted just minutes away outside a popular pub!

“He likes to roam, so we put him out in the garden,” said Emma.

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Emma Appleton happily reunited with Fred

“I’m a child minder, and have lots of children coming every day. So on this day, we put him in the garden and we played with him. He usually just potters about. But, unfortunately, around 3 o’clock he disappeared.

“He went under the trampoline, and when we looked, he’d gone! We all looked for him, about nine kids looking around the garden. Then my husband found a hole in a hedge that went through to next door’s garden. The chap next door had a look but there was no sign of Fred.”

The family desperately took to social media with appeals for locals to keep their eyes peeled. Missing posters, created by the children, were also posted in a bid to track Fred down.

Emma said: “We searched everyday, looking for him. Every morning, every afternoon. We even checked out security cameras to see if we could see him, but it was like he’d gone down a rabbit hole, it was just mad!”

Fred the wandering tortoise

Fortunately, there was a happy ending to the week of agony, when a passer-by spotted Fred wandering around the streets outside a pub in High Street, a little over 300 metres away from Emma’s house.

“On Thursday, a woman messaged me and said ‘I think I’ve got your tortoise’. She was driving through Standish and he was crossing the road outside Fifteen’s! She stopped and put him in the car. She told her husband and he said he’d seen a post online about a missing tortoise.”

Emma left to meet the couple right away and was delighted to be reunited with Fred.

“He looked very sorry!” she said.

Missing posters when Fred disappeared

“There’s not a mark on him. We’ve had some very hard rain so he must have dug down somewhere. I am so glad he’s back.

“We gave him a bath when he got back and he had his favourite salad before going to bed. He’s not stopped eating!”

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