September 20, 2009

‘Freeway’ the tortoise saved from highway

A pet tortoise rescued from a busy highway in southern England has been nicknamed Freeway.

John Formby of Worthing, on the Sussex coast, spotted the animal, at first thinking it was a piece of trash, The Independent reported. When he realized it was a tortoise, he pulled over and sprinted back to the rescue.

Three vehicles went right over the top of it but somehow missed it, he said Saturday. It didn't even pop back into its shell, just kept on walking as if it knew it had to get to the other side.

Formby bought the tortoise some lettuce and tomato for lunch and then delivered him to the Worthington and District Animal Center. Veterinarians there found a microchip of the type used in the United States and believe the tortoise was brought from there as a pet. Unfortunately, the chip was blank.

Billy Eliot, who works at the center, said staff there called the tortoise Freeway because it is a U.S. term.

Formby found Freeway where the M25, which encircles London, meets the M23 to West Sussex. There are no houses nearby, and the point where Freeway began its journey is unknown.