Escaped tortoise back with rightful owner after hours-long adventure

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Turbo the tortoise went missing Sunday night, but a tip on Craigslist led his owner to a southeast Houston backyard where the 110-pound tortoise was just chilling.

When Brenda Heredia realized the pet she had raised from the time she could hold him in her hand was missing, she feared he had been stolen.

She called police. When an officer took the report, she was asked how large he was. She spread her arms and said, "just about this big, about 110 pounds." The officer's jaw dropped.

"You keep that as a pet," she asked.

The pet is Turbo the tortoise, and he wasn't stolen, but instead broke through the concrete shingle siding on Heredia's garage, and set out on an adventure.

Turbo's trek took him about a mile from home, but what would you expect? After all, he's a tortoise.

It happened Sunday night. Heredia searched the neighborhood, and went on Craigslist, posting her report of a missing tortoise. On Monday morning, she was contacted by someone who read the post, and directed to a street in University Oaks, near the main University of Houston campus.

It turns out neighbors had noticed Turbo already, and gave him sanctuary in a backyard. Evelyn Broussard was unaware of the new attraction behind her house, and was stunned to find Turbo munching away on greenery.

"He was so big," she said. "So big, but I loved it."

Heredia quickly arrived at the house to reclaim her pet.

"He was chilling in the yard, and then he stuck his neck out and recognized me, and he's OK," she said.

He's a breed known as African Spurred Tortoise. They can reach up to nearly 200 pounds when fully grown, and can outlive any owner. If well-cared for, they can live 100 years and longer.

He has a personality, Heredia says, likes to be rubbed on the head, and he's never before escaped.

"He's at the emotional stage of a 13-year-old boy," she says. "He's pushing limits."

Turbo is now back at home - safe and sound - and staying in the house until repairs to the garage and reinforcement of the backyard fence are made. Heredia may be putting breakables out of reach in the house.

"He's broken bikes in half, pushed barbecue pits around and rearranged furniture before," she says.

But Heredia loves him.
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