Tortoise found on roadside by Blue Peter gold badge holder

·3-min read
The tortoise
The tortoise

A tortoise was found strolling along a path by a lady who has been in animal rescue for the last 20 years.

A light-coloured tortoise was found on a pathway in Deer Park, Witney, at around 15:30 yesterday.

Janie Arnold, a Blue Cross volunteer who found the critter, said that she took it to Medivet in Woodstock because it’s the only vets open on a Sunday.

She had been at a Blue Cross fundraiser and was on her way to get some ice cream in her car when she noticed a “pebble” walking along the path.

Janie said: “I was very surprised to find a tortoise. I was driving along, mind not on animals at that point, and then suddenly I saw this tortoise strolling along the path.

“It was moving at speed, but I grabbed it very quickly. They’re much faster than people think. You can’t take your eyes off them.”

She then took the tortoise back home to her garden and put out a post on social media alerting people to the fact that she’d taken it to the vets.

She said: “I brought it home, and didn’t hear anything on social media. I was worried about it being dehydrated because I didn’t know how long it had been walking.

“Another reason for taking it to the vets is that it means whoever goes to collect it has to show official papers and a photo.

“It’s the same reason I didn’t give too many details about the tortoise on the Facebook page I posted to.

“It stops people from coming forward and claiming pets that aren’t theirs. I found a tortoise in my garden last year and it’s amazing how many people came forward to try and claim it.”

The Blue Cross shop in Witney had been holding a fundraiser to raise much-needed money to ensure that pet owners are able to afford to keep their pets during the cost-of-living crisis.

Janie has been involved with animal rescue work for 20 years, but it was her rescue of three people swimming in Lake Windermere that gained her a gold Blue Peter badge.

She said: “When I was 11 years old, I was out in my dinghy on Lake Windermere and I heard cries for help.

“It was a man and his two daughters. He was holding his daughters but he got cramp, and they were all going under.

“I saved them in my dinghy.”

Janie reports that the tortoise is being moved to Axolotl and Reptile Rescue at Moreton-in-Marsh, until it is claimed or needs to be adopted.


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This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

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