Pet turtle reunited with owner after marathon adventure

ABC Riverland

By

Catherine Heuzenroeder

Posted

February 15, 2017 15:15:55

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Eight-year-old pet turtle Skipper can expect to live many more years after surviving his great adventure. (ABC Riverland: Catherine Heuzenroeder)
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Renmark 5341
He can stay inside now,” Mr Watson said with a laugh.Having shown he can squeeze through wire mesh, sneak past the dog and escape his backyard either under a small gap in the fence or the floor of the transportable house, he may have earned himself a new name.”I should start to call him Houdini now. (ABC Riverland: Catherine Heuzenroeder)
Pet recognised by distinctive markJesse Watson discovered Skipper missing from his Renmark North property on Friday morning.”I went to go feed him Friday morning and turn some [water] misters on as it was going to be 45 degrees,” Mr Watson said.”He wasn’t there when I went to feed him. I thought this is a long shot. I freaked out a little bit and thought worst case scenario, he’s dead.”I posted on Facebook ‘Rest in peace, Skipper’. I still don’t know how he got out,” Mr Watson said.Skipper’s safe return has given plenty of cause for celebration.”I think the girlfriend is about to go buy him something special,” Mr Watson said. External Link:

Skipper covered about 2km over two days

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Facebook post about turtle reunion
Before his reunion, there had been plans to release Skipper into a nearby creek or the River Murray, but Mr Watson doubts the turtle would have survived.”He’s not a local species,” he said.Skipper has now been returned to his tank and is unlikely to win back his outdoor privileges.”I will put fish in there. But no, it’s him … I still can’t get over it,” Mr Watson said.Skipper has a distinctive thumb-shaped indent on the back of his shell where Mr Watson pressed too hard when he was little.”That’s how I recognised him, and knew he was mine,” he said.Pet reunions that defy the oddsThere have been some remarkable reunions between pets and their owners.There was the Queensland family reunited with their cat three years after it went missing, thanks to a lost and found page on Facebook.And the two beloved pooches who went exploring while their owner was away on holiday in Bali and were returned three years later using their microchips.Then there was the implausible-sounding account of a pet turtle found locked in the storeroom of a house in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 30 years after she went missing. Photo:
Jesse Watson with Skipper among the vines the turtle most likely walked on his great adventure. (ABC Riverland: Catherine Heuzenroeder)
On Tuesday morning Mr Watson scrolled through a Riverland pets forum on Facebook and saw a post from a woman who had found a turtle in her driveway.”I was a bit sceptical to start with. I’ve had him for eight years … he’s like a dog for me, he’s my pet.”After cleaning out the pond and swimming pool filters to check for his turtle, Mr Watson resigned himself to life without Skipper. A pet turtle who escaped his backyard pond to navigate country roads and vineyards during soaring temperatures has been reunited with his owner through social media.Skipper the turtle covered about 2 kilometres in two days, in Renmark, South Australia.Keeping up the steady pace of the tortoise rather than the hare, it gave him an average speed of 41 metres each hour, or 70 centimetres each minute.His small dinner-plate shell helped him survive 45-degree heat, and good instincts had him follow water from a wine grape dripper system.But it was sheer luck that led him to safely dodge cars and avoid predators, before being rescued by a woman and finally reunited with his owner through a post on a Facebook pets forum five days after he went missing. Photo:
The odds were against Skipper finding his way home when he set off on a trek through Riverland vineyards.