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'Runaway' tortoise covers six miles... in one day

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SLOW and steady was the motto that helped the tortoise beat the hare in Aesop’s famous fable – but a Jersey family’s pet may have come up with a tactic of his own...

Joanne Stanton with her tortoise Freddie, who escaped from his home in St Mary and was found near Durrell Picture: ROB CURRIE (19418308)

Freddie, a near 70-year-old tortoise, crawled undetected out of the Stanton family’s St Mary garden on La Grande Rue and, 24 hours later, ended up six miles away in Trinity.

For two weeks Les and Joanne Stanton and their three children, Josh (16), Jake and Molly (both 14), feared the worst, as they had no sign of him until a volunteer from the Tortoise Sanctuary in Rouge Bouillon got in touch to say he had been handed in after being found in Trinity.

But mystery surrounds how the reptile ended up in Trinity in the first place.

A passer-by had stumbled across the touring tortoise – who has a habit of escaping – in a lane at the back of Jersey Zoo about a day after the family had noticed he had vanished.

‘That is what makes this all such a mystery,’ said Mrs Stanton, a medical receptionist. ‘We don’t know if someone has picked him up from the road and dropped him there or he has hitched a ride.

‘He’s a typical tortoise. Slow. He does pick up a bit of speed when he sees a dandelion but he’s not quick enough to get to the Zoo in that time. Whether he had a few dandelions before he set off I don’t know.

‘I am really curious to find out what did happen to him. There is no way in my mind he has walked all the way there from St Mary. Someone must have picked him up along the way.’

Freddie was reunited with his family after a member of staff recognised the description of the reptile – which included a mention of paint marks on his back – which Mr Stanton posted on Facebook after the pet went missing.

Freddie is now back at home, safe, enjoying dandelions and preparing for hibernation.

*Mrs Stanton has asked if any readers know how Freddie ended up in Trinity to get in touch with jmaguire@jerseyeveningpost.com.

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