A Leighton Buzzard pet shop is hoping to reunite a lost tortoise with its rightful owner.
Wrigglies Exotic Pets, Hockliffe Street, were given the animal just over a week ago, after a member of the public found it and asked the popular store if they could take care of it.
Luckily, the critter is happy and well and the caring team at Wrigglies are hoping its owner will get in touch.
Julian Clare, manager, said: “Not last week, but the week prior, a member of the public found the tortoise and it has been in our care for ten days. It’s doing very very well.
“Tortoises are actually very very quick, even though they have a reputation for being slow, but a tortoise in good health - there’s nothing slow about them!
“They can dig and climb - they can dig to cool down - and it’s easy to lose a tortoise very quickly.
“I’ve known one to be able to cover 12 miles in two months.
“This tortoise has probably travelled a fair distance. The owner can contact me at the shop, and the details I would need are: a rough area where it was lost, an approximate size, its species, and if known, its sex.”
Julian also has advice for Leighton-Linslade tortoise owners, which includes taking a photo of your pet’s plastron (the bottom half of the shell underneath the animal), because every single plastron is unique and will therefore help prove that you are the rightful owner should your pet tortoise ever become lost.
Furthermore, if your tortoise is physically large enough, Wrigglies see no harm in getting it microchipped, indeed a few tortoise species are required by law to be chipped.
Finally, to minimise the risk of your tortoise escaping, and to ensure its wellbeing, Julian advised: “I’m not a fan of outside runs or pens, as then the range at which your tortoise can move is quite limited. People also tend to put the animal in there without reviewing the path of the sun.
“Just stay with your tortoise - this doesn’t restrict its movements and allows it to find areas to in which to warm up and cool down.
“Tortoises are also susceptible to attacks from unsupervised pets, or ants, so it is best to remain close to it.”
Meanwhile, the Wrigglies team are hoping the owner of the lost tortoise will come forward, and don’t want to give out too much information about the pet in case opportunists try to claim the animal is theirs.
Julian concluded: “We are just keen to reunite it. It’s someone’s pet and there’s a good chance there’s a child missing it. The owner can contact me at the shop, or on a wider note, if people want to know more in general about keeping the animal and how to keep it secure, they can come to me for advice.
“I don’t want to discourage people from keeping tortoises outside for a short period of time - just make sure they don’t get too cold or too hot.
“Don’t leave them unattended and make sure they have shade and water.”
To contact Julian at the Wrigglies shop, call: 01525 373460.