After 13 days on the lam, missing pet tortoise found, returns home

Cecil the tortoise was found and returned to his family with the help of social media.
Published: Aug. 30, 2022 at 5:50 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - As nasty as social media can be, it also has the power to do good. The Carder family, in Lincoln, can attest to that. Their pet tortoise, Cecil, went missing for nearly two weeks, and dozens of people united online to find it.

This is a case about mistaken identity, a long journey from home and a warm reunion. Cecil’s journey started Aug.13.

“There’s an area where we had dug a post out, to open our gate a little wider,” Leslie Carder, Cecil’s owner said. “A rock had been moved. He somehow found that hole, jimmied himself out of there. And he walked right up the street.”

That evening his owners realized he was gone. Neighbors down the street had found him, but released him into the wild, not knowing he was a missing pet. Cecil was actually spotted several times while he was missing, but nobody thought much of him.

“On Wednesday, around noon, he came out of the tree line,” Carder said. “He walked up to the people while they were outside. They thought he was a snapping turtle at first. So he had been found twice and released.”

Meanwhile, Leslie Carder hit up social media for help.

“I just thought everybody kind of knew what tortoises were,” Carder said. “I felt, you know, like, there’s no way he would survive out in the wilderness like that.”

Leslie posted in a variety of social media groups. Dozens of strangers volunteered to find him in the 27th Street and Arbor Road area. It was just about a mile from home, but still, there was no luck. After a week of people sending her pictures of other random tortoises that were not Cecil, last Friday, there was a breakthrough.

“I had actually stopped out there on my way to work. It was around 10:15 or so,” Carder said. “When I got there, there was another gal there and she was searching and a lady walked drove up all of a sudden she came up and she’s like, ‘Are you guys looking for that turtle or tortoise?’ And we’re like, ‘Yeah,’ and she goes, ‘You know, my,’ I can’t remember if he was the husband or boyfriend but you know, she said ‘he’s on his dirt bike, and he just saw one up in our on our road. And I’m not sure if it’s yours, but you might want to come look.’

Leslie did and it was Cecil. He was found after 13 days of being missing.

“It was so heart-touching to to know that everyone cared enough to take out their time complete stranger you know, to look for their tortoise,” Carder said. “I tell ya, it’s made my month and year I’ll be happy for a long time.”

Cecil the tortoise is happy to be home after 13 days on the lam.
Cecil the tortoise is happy to be home after 13 days on the lam.(Madison Pitsch)