Missing tortoise wanted! Shell-shocked owners offer £100 reward for Glenelg escape artist

Turtle recall: Have you seen Jamie-T?

The owners of a tortoise which went missing near Glenelg last month are offering £100 for the safe return of their beloved pet.

Perthshire couple Fiona and Ray McGillivray were visiting the Glenelg area with their tortoise Jamie-T in late June as part of a regular holiday trip when the escape occurred.

Ms McGillivray told the Free Press: “He enjoys his holidays in Glenelg four or five times per year and is quite at home with the Highland way of life. J-T likes to forage in the garden but has never been left there out of sight, until Sunday 23rd June.

“J-T is now lost somewhere in the Glenelg area – we were staying down beside Bernera Barracks, and he could be quite a distance away.”

Jamie-T is a Hermann’s tortoise and was adopted by the McGillivray’s as a rescue pet in October 2013 through the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Ms Gillivray explained: “He was mistreated since birth due to a faulty diet, and life on a dusty cement garage floor with no access to natural light resulted in (him developing) a misshapen shell, known as ‘pyramiding’ and limited growth. Breathing was laboured and he was on antibiotics, with a poor forecast for survival.

“With lots of care, he has been enjoying a very happy and extremely active life, moving with great speed and renewed vigour.

“He lives indoors and is only in the garden when we’re with him. J-T still requires a special diet with added supplements and warm baths, while keeping an eye on his ‘still dodgy’ respiratory system. He can’t swim.”

She added: “Sadly, J-T will have no ‘homing’ instinct and if he tips upside-down will need to turn himself back over relatively quickly to survive, due to his breathing mechanism.”

The couple has asked for any information which could help determine the whereabouts of their “wee and much-adored family tortoise”. Ms Gillivray said that while J-T will forage “to a degree”, he was unlikely to survive in the longer term – particularly in colder weather.

“He will dig down to a degree at night,” she said, “but with warm sunshine and hunger, he will choose to bask and should be visible.

“J-T doesn’t bite but likes to follow and grab at feet – probably thinking they are another tortoise!”

The MacGillivrays say they have received “many emails and numerous enquiries” on the Glenelg Facebook page, with offers of help and small groups organising themselves into search parties.

They are now offering a £100 reward for J-T safe return. If you have any information relating to J-T, you can contact Fiona and Ray McGillivray on 01821 642525 or 07703 113800.

Article by Adam Gordon