Winnie the Pooh could well have a new friend in the form of a Herman tortoise after it was found roaming the grounds of Pooh House and Gardens in Fittleworth.
In a slightly different Animal Magic feature this week, Paul and Mary Reed are now hoping to trace its owner after shell-shocked Paul discovered the reptile in their one acre of land while out walking their dogs around two weeks ago.
“Paul and the dogs wondered what this thing was moving around,” explained Mary.
“It was extraordinary, he was just merrily munching away in our woodland garden out the back, completely in his element and totally undeterred by anything.”
Mary then rung Sussex Bird and Reptile Rescue who advised that they take the tortoise to the vets to see if it was micro chipped.
“The vet said he was and that the owner is in Twickenham so we realised either he has hitched a ride, he’s been stolen or the owners forgot to update the records so we went to local houses in to see if there were any signs up,” added Mary.
“He’s 11-years-old apparently and it was really interesting because it had probably taken him 11 years to get here from Twickenham!”
The couple’s quarry gardens, which have been around for 27 years and are in aid of children’s hospice Chestnut Tree House, are set for their summer opening on August 17 and 18 where the tortoise, who has since been nicknamed ‘Twickers’ and is currently being cared for by Springfield Veterinary Surgery in Midhurst, will be borrowed back to make an appearance alongside Pooh, Tigger and Piglet.
Paul added: “A further twist to the tale is we’ve only just found out the vet nurse giving him board and lodging is called Winnie.”
Mary continued: “We couldn’t believe it, of all the names there could be.
“If we don’t find the owner, he’ll come back to the Pooh House menagerie. Hopefully we’ll find the owner because I’d imagine you’d be distraught if you’d lost your tortoise.”
Mary described Pooh House as ‘a house for lost souls and strays’, so perhaps the tortoise ended up at just the right place.
“We always end up with rescue dogs that we rehome,” she added. “We’ve had ferral cats, kittens and rehomed them. All these things happen at Pooh House.”
If you have any information on the Twickenham tortoise, contact Springfield Veterinary Surgery on 01730 816833.
The special opening at Pooh House and Gardens will take place between 11am and 4pm at the site in Sandy Lane, Fittleworth, RH20 1EH.
“We have Reptile Rescue at 11am-12pm giving a talk on each day on tortoise and other reptiles and how best to look after these increasingly rare creatures that can live well over 60 years,” added Mary.
There will also be face painting, a teddy Bear hunt and Thunking competitio, a St Johns medical unit to explore, refreshments and much more.
For more information visit www.poohhouseandgardens.com
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