Published: 13:44, 22 June 2020
| Updated: 14:48, 22 June 2020
An escaped tortoise has been reunited with its relieved owners after going on a two-week sightseeing holiday.
Worried owner Mandy Harwood, who had been looking after the docile reptile for her mother, had almost given up hope of finding the family's much-loved pet.
But after spending two weeks out in the open, dehydrated Fred was spotted ambling his way across a road bridge 800 metres from home.
Saved from the likelihood of being squished by passing cars thanks to eagle-eyed motorist Emma Miles, the shelled escapologist was handed into the care of Thanet Tortoise/Turtle & Terrapin Rescue after being checked over at two Pets at Home branches.
Following a successful appeal for find the owners, Fred has now returned home in healthy shape.
"It's an extremely big miracle that he's back," Mandy said.
"I've no idea how he got to where he did. He would have had to have gone through a stream.
"When we discovered he'd disappeared it was a very big worry as we came to realise there was nothing we could really do.
"The fields are full of rapeseed and there was no way he could have been found.
"He'll be going to the vets today to be microchipped, I didn't know you could microchip a tortoise so it'll be a relief to know he can be traced.
"We still have no idea how he got out from his pen. It should be too tall for him to climb over and too heavy to go underneath but he did one or the other."
Fred was found last Sunday on Plumpudding Lane, which runs over the A299 Thanet Way, about 800 metres from home.
Checks have since found that, after all these years, Fred is in fact a female.
"I'm just so glad he's back as he's been in the family for 60 years," Mandy added.
"My grandfather originally found him on the railway all those years ago.
"He's never had a proper name - we call him Fred but different generations of the family have christened him different names."