A pet turtle that escaped its enclosure in Manly nine months ago has been reunited with its owner.
Samantha Draper has had her eight-year old red eared slider turtle Donna and a male turtle, Mike, for four years.
She describes them as adventurous escape artists – curious and able to move quite fast. It’s not the first time that one, or both of them, have been lost at various times. Normally they live in a tank inside, but in summer they enjoy spending time in a small pond enclosed by a puppy playpen fence in the back garden. They scale the 1m fence to get away.
“Usually we find them in the neighbour’s garden the next day, so I wasn’t worried at first when Donna went missing last February,” Samantha says.
After searching drains and other areas for her, and posting on Facebook with no luck, she had almost given up hope.
On November 2, a Facebook post about a turtle that had been found on Whangaparaoa Road in Little Manly proved to be Donna, identified by unique markings on the underside of her shell.
The lucky turtle was found by Chevania Johnson, who took her to the zoo. Sally at Zoo Ventures told Samantha that it was possible Donna had found a safe haven or been cared for by others while she was gone as aquatic turtles only eat insects and vegetation when they are in fresh water.
Whatever happened in the last few months, it is obvious that Donna has had an adventure and near miss or two.
Her shell has been damaged and she was lighter and very hungry.
“She’s loving the prawns and fish I’ve been feeding her,” Samantha says.
She and her mate, Mike, appeared happy to see each other – Mike had been less active while Donna was gone.
Samantha says she will find a way to keep Donna safely and permanently contained.
“This cannot happen ever again, as next time I don’t think we’d be as fortunate,” Samantha says. “I’m so happy to have her back.”