AN ANIMAL lover who could give Dr Doolittle a run for his money is asking locals to be vigilant after her tortoise made a dash for it last week.

Carla Dunne, from Ipplepen, who has made a habit of adopting a number of exotic animals in need of a loving home, is hoping her runaway reptile, full name: Ronald Ian Dunne, returns home soon.

In the meantime, the concerned owner is asking nearby residents to ‘be vigilant.’

Ronald however, could be having a field day, as he has a weakness for his favourite snacks: dandelions and clovers.

The escapee ‘instinctively heads downhill’ and, Carla thinks, may have set up camp near someone’s pond or stream.

Anyone who spots him is advised to wiggle their fingers, which can lure him over and to call the owner.

‘When it gets a bit hot they can burrow to escape the heat,’ said Carla.

‘Our garden backs onto a very rural area so I’m really hoping he hasn’t gone too far.’

Carla adopted Ronald around three years ago after his former owner moved into a flat without a garden and could no longer give him an outdoor run.

‘That’s the thing about rescues, I don’t know how old he is… I always give my animals full names which incorporates their old name – “Ian” in Ronalds’ case. This gives them a fresh start in life.’

Ronald has been missing from the Beach Trees Lane area of Ipplepen since early last week.


At the eleventh hour, Carla’s suspicions were confirmed as Ronald was found sunbathing at the poolside of a neighbours’ pond. The garden was indeed downhill from her garden.