A British family thought their tortoise was lost forever when he ran off two years ago.
But last week, Arnie the tortoise was discovered crawling up the driveway to their former home.
"It is incredible that our old neighbor found him as we haven’t lived there for 20 years," Sophie Bevan, 53, told Caters News. “It’s a miracle that we have got him back.”
Although Arnie never lived at the address about a mile away from the home they live in now, their former neighbor Sue Millington, 60, said, “Maybe it detected some old smell."
Sophie said she and her husband Richard, 52, had originally purchased Arnie as a Christmas present for their daughter Tilda, 20, eight years ago.
“I used to put him out in the [backyard] as it’s more natural for him,” Sophie said. “He used to like making nests and roaming around.”
Two years ago, Sophie said the gate was accidently left open, and Arnie wandered off.
"We desperately hunted for him and even asked our local farmer to keep a look out,” she explained. "But by the time winter had come and gone I just presumed he wouldn't have made it.”
Then, out of nowhere, Sophie said their neighbor called and asked if they still had their pet tortoise, since there was a similar looking one approaching their home.
Sure enough, they spotted the same smear of green paint on the tortoise’s shell that Tilda had made years ago, and they were able to determine the tortoise returning to their former home was indeed Arnie.
"He was completely unscathed even though he's spent two winters outside. I can't believe he didn't get eaten by a fox or something,” Sophie said. "He is still his normal self and has been eating loads since he has been home.”