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Graphic and video: Peach-loving Freddy the tortoise comes home after eight months

Bethany Goddard, 12, with Freddy the tortoise, who has been returned home to Rackheath after going missing when Bethany and her family were on holiday. Picture: Denise Bradley Bethany Goddard, 12, with Freddy the tortoise, who has been returned home to Rackheath after going missing when Bethany and her family were on holiday. Picture: Denise Bradley

Friday, April 11, 2014
9:07 AM

Freddy the tortoise has returned to his Rackheath home eight months after going missing – and he’s already back on his special treat, tinned peaches.

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Fifteen-year-old Freddy disappeared last August.

Donna Goddard, whose 12-year-old daughter, Bethany, owns the tortoise, said: “Freddy went missing while staying with friends in Wacton, near Long Stratton, while we went on holiday.

“He was found in the garden of a neighbour of theirs, after coming out of hibernation. He had obviously escaped from our friends’ garden, crossed the road and had managed to get into another garden and hibernate.

“Luckily for us our friends’ neighbour spotted him coming out of his temporary home (hole) while she was out gardening. He always wakes up at the beginning of April.

“The bizarre thing about it is that he was found and returned home on my son Liam’s 18th birthday.”

The family has already fed the prodigal tortoise his favourite peaches and he gets a warm bath every night.

Mrs Goddard, 39, who lives with husband, Daren, 45, Bethany and Liam, at Craske Drive, added: “He ate the tinned peaches quite quickly. He’s smaller than he was when he left, as he’s been eating dandelions and grass.

“We kept his house in the garden in case he was returned. We thought he had been stolen. He hibernates from October to April, so he must have just been roaming about from August, when he left, to October.”

Bethany said: “I’m really pleased Freddy’s back. We thought we would never see him again.”

The family cat, Snowy, is also pleased Freddy’s back, and has been following him round the garden. Mrs Goddard said: “Snowy really missed him and used to sit on the windowsill, looking at where he used to be.”

The family is now considering buying Freddy a pair of Superman pants, in appreciation of his amazing survival skills.

Freddy is a Hermann’s tortoise (Testudo hermanni), which is one of five tortoise species.

The family has had him for about seven years, after he moved from Mrs Goddard’s sister’s house after falling out with their dog.

Has your pet gone missing or returned after a lengthy absence? Email David Bale at david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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