It’s important to not lose hope when a pet runs away, even when all hope seems lost. We’ve seen many stories of lost animals reuniting with their families months or even years after they disappeared.

That was the case recently in Florida after officers picked up a stray animal and realized it had been missing for three years — but it wasn’t a dog or a cat, but an African sulcata tortoise.

On October 21, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, in Florida, said in a Facebook post that they had found an “unusual looking tortoise” attempting to cross SR 20 in Interlachen.

They identified the tortoise as an African Sulcata, a species of tortoise native to the Sahara desert and not Florida, so they knew it didn’t belong in the wild. They suspected it was someone’s pet who had gotten loose.

“He is definitely someone’s tortoise as he likes people and head pats,” the sheriff’s office wrote on Facebook.

The following day, they posted an update: they had found the tortoise’s owner, and learned that she had been missing since 2020!

They wrote that the tortoise, which they learned is a female, is in “a little rough shape” after being missing for so long and experiencing “a few cold winters,” but now she is back with her owner. They said the tortoise was found not far from where she went missing and had only traveled five miles.

Though sulcata tortoises are heavy and slow-moving creatures, they have a knack for escaping and are able to dig through their enclosures. Last month two escaped sulcata tortoises made headlines after being found wandering the streets.

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In another recent story, a 100-year-old tortoise was found and reunited with his family.

We’re so glad this tortoise is finally safe at home after being missing for three years! Please share this amazing news!

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