A worried pet owner is searching for her ‘stroppy’ tortoise, who is missing after 37 years in the family.
Dirty Gertie, believed to be older than 100, lived with Carol Bishop in Lindfield.
“I don’t even need to have her back, if she’s in a sanctuary that’s OK, I just want to know she’s all right,” Carol said.
“I don’t think anybody else could look after her, I know what she likes. She’s difficult to cope with, there’s no knowing what she’s going to do,” Carol said.
Dirty Gertie’s name is inspired by her tendency to hibernate in the garden during winter, covering herself in mud and ‘refusing’ to be put in a box in the loft over winter.
Carol continued: “She’s a real character, she spits, she hisses, she swears. She’s very stubborn, if she doesn’t like plants and she can’t eat, then she just mows them down.
It might seem stupid I’m upset about a tortoise, but you get attached in 37 yearsCarol Bishop
“She’s a stroppy cow. I know it might seem stupid I’m upset about a tortoise but you get attached in 37 years.”
Carol has not seen Gertie since October, when work was carried out in Carol’s garden while she was on holiday.
She assumed Gertie was already hibernating, but she became suspicious as Gertie has usually emerged by now.
Carol continued: “We have looked high and low for signs of her in our garden, without success, and I wonder whether she did one of her Houdini tricks whilst the men were working in the garden.
“We can’t find any holes in our fences through which she could escape, but if the gate was left open she could be anywhere.”
Since she began her search, a neighbour explained to Carol that in October someone was looking for the owner of a lost tortoise on Carol’s road whilst they were away.
That is where the trail has dried up, as no local vets have received a lost tortoise.
“I told the workers how quickly she moves,” Carol added.
“Gertie had attitude. Stubborn, intelligent, and greatly missed. We just hope that she is safe, sound and happy somewhere.”
Carol is offering a £100 for anyone who finds Dirty Gertie.