Missing tortoise ‘Fred’ escapes after 90 years with one family

Fred the Greek Spur Thigh tortoise has spent his 90-plus years in Marie Baur-Wilkins’ family – from her grandmother to her aunty and then to her.

But now, Fred has made one bid for adventure, to see the world beyond the family’s garden in Whitchurch.

The call of the wooded area underneath the garden fence was too much for the nonagenarian tortoise, who made his bid for freedom this week and hasn’t been seen since.

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Fred had his address in Whitecross Avenue, Whitchurch painted on his ageing shell, and even had an electronic tracker fitted, in case he ever went walkabout.

But on Thursday he dug under the fence, got out into the wooded area of the railway path between Whitchurch and Stockwood and, 15 yards into the woods, managed to part company with his tracker.

Fred the tortoise, who has gone missing from his home in Whitchurch
Fred the tortoise, who has gone missing from his home in Whitchurch
(Image: Marie Baur-Wilkins)

Marie and the family went looking for Fred as soon as they realised what he’d done – and discovered the black tracker disc up the bank. She described trying to find Fred in the dense undergrowth as like ‘looking for a needle in a haystack’.

“He was passed down from my grandmother to my auntie and then to me. This morning he’s managed to get under the back fence, down to the railway path.

Fred the tortoise, who has gone missing from his home in Whitchurch
Fred the tortoise, who has gone missing from his home in Whitchurch
(Image: Marie Baur-Wilkins)

“He watched my dad learn to crawl, and now my son and baby daughter, so I’m heartbroken he got out,” she added.

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