Page last updated at 15:37 GMT, Saturday, 19 September 2009 16:37 UK

Tortoise survives life at speed

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It is thought 'Freeway' might be a recent immigrant to the UK

A tortoise with a taste for life in the fast lane has been rescued after he was found wandering across a slip road off the M25 in Surrey.

He was plucked to safety by John Formby, who pulled over on the hard shoulder after spotting him on the M23 slip road at junction seven of the M25.

The site manager from Worthing, West Sussex said he at first thought it was debris, but then spotted a head.

Vets discovered he was micro-chipped in the USA, and have named him Freeway.

Mr Formby, 43, recalled how he feared the tortoise could cause an accident with people trying to avoid it.

He's very lucky to have survived. It would be the icing on the cake if we could reunite him with his owners
Billy Elliott, Worthing and District Animal Rescue Service

"So I pulled over, put my hazard lights on and ran 400 yards down the hard shoulder," he said.

"Some other cars were coming up and a couple went round the tortoise. Two cars and a van drove straight over it, straddling it, but it didn't go back into its shell.

"By the time I'd run back, it had got into the slow lane. I ran out picked it up and put it into the foot well of my car."

He then stopped off at a supermarket to buy it some tomatoes and lettuce before dropping it into Grove Lodge Veterinary Hospital in Worthing on Wednesday afternoon.

Billy Elliott, of Worthing and District Animal Rescue Service, said the tortoise was very friendly and in good condition.

"He must be someone's pet and the family have relocated from abroad and brought him with them.

"He's very lucky to have survived. It would be the icing on the cake if we could reunite him with his owners."



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