AN elderly tortoise has been reunited with his owner, after a two-week adventure through West Oxfordshire.

Toby went missing from Cassington on Sunday, May 6, but despite a 16-day disappearance, the reptile only managed to get as far as the village’s main road, where he was spotted by a passing driver – who thought he was a hedgehog.

On closer inspection, the animal appeared to match the description of the Hermann’s tortoise, who is in his 70s.

Charlotte Townsend, 23, from Witney, foiled Toby’s great escape on Tuesday, when she found him mooching down the A40 – and picked him up ahead of a family dinner.

Oxford Mail:

But the wandering tortoise was not treated to a salad and glass of wine – he stayed in the car instead, before being given a bath and a good drink later.

However, Cassington's intrepid explorer has since been 'grounded' by worried owner Rita Newport - who thanked the Oxford Mail for its part in the homecoming. 

After a Mail story and social media campaign - backed by a number of celebrities, including former Wales goalkeeper Neville Southall and ex-Blue Peter presenter Sarah Greene - trying to find the lost pet, Miss Townsend realised her elderly guest was a likely candidate.

Oxford Mail:

And this afternoon he has been reunited with owner Rita, following a trip to the vet, where a micro-chip was checked to verify his identity.

Miss Townsend explained: “I was driving down the road at about 6.30pm. I thought it was a hedgehog at first. I was so surprised I had to phone my mum.

“My friend keeps tortoises, so he has been in a box by the radiator while we tried to look for the owner.

“He seems happy enough. I gave him a bath and he drank a lot – I think he was very dehydrated.

"I couldn't be happier that I could reunite Rita with Toby. He's back were he belongs at last."

Rhiannon Davies, Rita's daughter in law, added: “We are so relieved that Toby is home and has been reunited with Rita. 

"We can’t believe he went so far. He was found about a mile away. 

"Thank you to everyone at The Oxford Mail for their help on spreading the word and thank you so much to Charlotte who found him."

Despite his family's surprise, it is believed Toby only managed an average speed of half a mile a week during his travels.