An adventurous tortoise is back home after spending the past nine months exploring Ucluelet.
Fish, the Canadian Princess Lodge’s 15-year-old office pet, went missing on Sept. 2, 2017, after escaping from an enclosure he had been hanging out in on the Lodge’s lawn.
“He’s a beloved member of the family. We were really upset when he was gone,” said the Lodge’s Megan Flood. “We were offering rewards. We had missing posters all over town. At some point, we gave up hope. We thought he was eaten by eagles so we were expecting to find his shell somewhere.”
That feeling of hopelessness was replaced with jubilation on Monday as, Flood said, three Windsor Plywood employees spotted the turtle trying to fend off a crow across the street from the Lodge.
“They just so happened to be passing by and they saw the tortoise crossing the street, and a crow was trying to eat him. So, they saved the tortoise and brought him across the street,” Flood said. “One of the guys came over here and asked if we were missing a turtle. So, I went outside and I started to freak out. I was like, ‘There’s no way it can be Fish.’ I got a little teary eyed because we’ve been missing the guy.”
She said, despite the little animal being covered in cobwebs, she recognized Fish immediately thanks to his unique markings.
“We were hysterical when he came back. I was taking pictures and sending them all to the family members. The owners [Bob and Sue Se] came over straight away and they were ecstatic,” she said.
Fish is a vegetarian who feasts primarily on blueberries and lettuce. Flood said he looked like he’d eaten well during his time away.
“[There’s] lots of leafy greens around Ukee, so he’s pretty happy,” she said.
This was not Fish’s first time on the lam, as the wily creature once wandered off for two years before being found.
“He’s a little escape artist, but we love him,” she said. “Some people have office dogs, we have a tortoise…He’s easy to take care of and he’s an all around nice guy.”