More Than 3 Years Later, “Escape Artist” Pet Tortoise Back Home In Florida

“Clearly you ain’t from around here.”



After more than three years on the lam, a Florida tortoise is finally back home with her family.

Ty the 60-pound sulcata tortoise arrived at Florida's Wildest Animal Refuge Saturday after officers from Putnam County Sheriff's Office found her attempting to cross a busy road in Interlachen.

“CLEARLY YOU AIN’T FROM AROUND HERE,” the sheriff’s office joked on Facebook alongside photos of the large reptile, noting that it “likes people and head pats” and was likely someone’s pet.

“According to wildlife experts at Florida’s Wildest Animal Refuge who agreed to take our large friend, these tortoises are known escape artists and can dig out of their enclosures,” the post notes.

The sheriff’s office asked for help identifying the tortoise’s owner as well as its gender, as they “did not ask to look up his shell.”

On Sunday, Florida's Wildest Animal Refuge revealed that the tortoise's owner had come forward thanks to the sheriff's office’s original Facebook post.

“A truly unbelievable story, it just goes to show you to never give up hope!” the refuge wrote on Facebook. “Yesterday, Putnam County Sheriff's Office brought us a sulcata tortoise that was found in town. After the post was shared hundreds of times, one of our followers sent us a post from April 2020 of a sulcata tortoise that looked similar, that went missing from the same area!”

The tortoise, who turned out to be a female named Ty, had been missing for three and a half years. She was found five miles away from where she got free of her family’s yard in nearby Hawthorne. And escape artist indeed!

“She is in a little bit of rough shape from spending so many cold winters here without heat, but she will be okay, and we recommended a trip to the vet,” the post continued. “What a happy ending! We are so happy we were able to assist in reuniting her with her family!”

Welcome home, Ty!

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