A case of wanderlust overtook a 100-year-old tortoise in England last week. Fred, as his owners of over 30 years know him, escaped from his home and headed out to see the world, only to be found and returned home a week later not far from where he started. Moving at a rate of just .006 miles per hour, Fred made it only one mile up the road during his week-long absence.
Still, the escaped tortoise caused a bout of chaos in the small, English village of Blackfield, Hampshire, as owners Terry and Sue Phelps enlisted the neighborhood’s help in a search for Fred. Initially fearing he had been stolen, the search party stretched far and wide across Blackfield and beyond, yielding no results.
If only the search party had slowed it down, they may have found the tortoise quite a bit sooner. Still frantic, the Phelps placed an ad in the local newspaper urging the community to help locate the lost pet. A motorcyclist cruising down a road near the Phelps’ home spotted Fred, recognizing him immediately from the newspaper ad, and scooped him up. He appeared unperturbed upon being found, seemingly content with his leisurely cruise.
“I can’t thank Fred’s saviour enough. I hadn’t had a full night’s sleep since he went missing,” said the 86-year-old Mr Phelps to the Mirror. “Normally I open the back door in the morning and he’s there — he’d shout out for food if he could — but he wasn’t there on Tuesday the other week and simply didn’t appear.” One can’t help but wonder if Fred’s journey came to an end too early — he sure did not see as much of the world as we think he’d hoped.