Tortoise found on Rainham building site

A tortoise was discovered wandering around a building site in Rainham last Thursday (17).

A tortoise was discovered wandering around a building site in Rainham last Thursday (17).

Builders found the reptile while working at Mardyke Farm, off Dagenham Road, and handed it in to the RSPCA.

The Essex, Havering and Harold Hill branch of the charity is looking after the pet, nicknamed ‘Shellie’, until her owner comes forward.

RSPCA trustee Madeline Wallace put the tortoise up in her spare room over the weekend.

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She said: “Once she warmed up and had some food she really came to life.

“She is a real little character and loves wondering around my garden for hours on end.

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“She’s absolutely beautiful, she’s won me over. If I could keep her I would.”

A veterinary nurse is now looking after the tortoise.

Shellie is in a good condition and is estimated to be between 20 and 50 years old.

She could have escaped, come out of hibernation early or been abandoned.

The RSPCA is becoming increasingly concerned about problems with reptiles.

A spokesman said: “People are attracted to them because they are a bit different or quirky, but often do not realise they may have very specific needs and be quite difficult to look after in a home.

“This leads to a lot of abandonment and animals suffering and even dying because they do not receive the specialist care they need.”

Tortoises can walk up to 10km in a day and it is not known how long Shellie has been missing, so she could be a long way from home.

She is not microchipped and nobody has claimed her.

Madeline said: “There must be someone out there who knows something, you wouldn’t just let her go.”

The RSPCA is appealing for an owner to come forward within three months or the tortoise will have to be re-homed.

Call 01708 381 822 with information.

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