Lost Tortoise Found After 3 Years

Lisa Selvaggio
by Lisa Selvaggio

A story about a lost tortoise in Florida proves that reunions can happen even years after losing a pet, and that social media can play a huge role in reconnecting people with their lost pets.


It All Started with a Facebook Post

On October 21, 2023, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office shared information on Facebook about a tortoise that was found trying to cross a road in Interlachen, Florida. The post explained that deputies had found the animal, which was an African sulcata tortoise – a breed that’s native to the Sahara Desert. And the post had photos of the large tortoise and the men who rescued her.  

Because the animal liked being around people, and even liked having her head petted, it became clear that she was someone’s lost tortoise. To ensure she would be cared for by experts, she was taken to Florida’s Wildest Animal Refuge, who even agreed to keep her permanently if she wasn’t reunited with her family.

In the meantime, the Facebook post contained a phone number that anyone could call with information, so everyone waited to see if an owner would come forward to claim the tortoise.  

A Quick Response and a Happy Reunion

It didn’t take long at all for this tortoise to find her family. The following day, October 22, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office added an update to their original post, proclaiming that the owner was found.

But what makes this story extraordinary is that the tortoise didn’t go missing recently; she went missing three years ago in April 2020. And she was found 5 miles from her home.

With the support of social media and everyone spreading the word, the animal’s owner learned that a tortoise had been rescued. She was able to prove ownership with the help of a Facebook post from 2020, which included photos and a plea for assistance in finding her lost pet.

Florida’s Wildest Animal Rescue made their own Facebook post about this delightful reunion. They explained that they received a message about a similar looking tortoise that went missing years ago in the area where this animal was found. By comparing the owner’s photos to the rescued tortoise, they were able to determine that this was indeed the same animal.  

African sulcata tortoises have a reputation for making their way out of enclosures because they can dig really well and can slip out when you aren’t looking, so it isn’t all that surprising that this adventurous tortoise got lost. Everyone is thrilled that she’s home again, where she can get the care and attention she deserves.  

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Lisa Selvaggio
Lisa Selvaggio

Lisa Selvaggio is a freelance writer and editor, and our resident cats-pert, with certifications in pet nutrition and pet first aid. She enjoys producing content that helps people understand animals better so they can give their pets a safe and happy home.

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