An Edinburgh mum has made an appeal to the public to give her heartbroken son the best tenth birthday present – by helping to find his runaway tortoise.
Lesley Macdonald was dreading the moment of telling her son Joe that his beloved four-year-old Houdini tortoise, Levi, escaped from the garden at their family home in Ferryfield.
But the mum-of-two is now doing everything in her power to reunite Joe with his first ever pet whom he got for Christmas last year.
She said: “Last Tuesday I was in the back garden with my mum and I’d brought Levi outside to play. He has such a wee personality – he’s funny and great.
“We have a gap in our fence and I didn’t take my eyes off him for more than two minutes and he was gone.
“My son was at football at the time and I was dreading having to tell him when he got home.
“He is broken-hearted and burst into tears when I told him.
“I felt so awful and guilty and we all just want Levi back, we adore him.
“We are all deeply saddened by this because he is our pet and his a member of our family.”
With Joe’s birthday coming up next week, the Wardie Primary School pupil asked his mum if she thought the roaming reptile would come home to celebrate the milestone.
Lesley has been out searching for Levi every day since his disappearance, on June 12, even taking a day off work as a medical secretary to create and distribute posters on street lights and through letterboxes to get him back to his indoor enclosure – described as the “Neverland for tortoises” by the 45-year-old.
A Facebook post has also been shared by 300 people with Lesley urging members of the public to keep an eye out for the runaway tortoise.
She said: “Despite me searching and digging up half of Ferryfield every night, he’s nowhere to be seen.
“I’m just asking for people in the area to please double/triple check their gardens. He really could be there.
“He is very adventurous and loves to burrow and climb. He also loves strawberries and dandelions. It is hard to believe but he’s also very fast and could be anywhere in the local area by now.
“If we found him it would be the best birthday present Joe could get. We miss him so much and to have him back would be like winning the lottery.”
Levi needs special lamps and a specialist diet with Lesley offering a £50 reward for anyone who can help bring him home safely.
She added: “He does have light and is on a specific diet but tortoises can survive a fairly long time without them.
“Tortoises are renowned for burrowing deep and sheltering from the elements. This could be the case.
“He could be really close by or many streets away. I’m offering a £50 reward for anyone who can help Levi get home where he belongs.”
Anyone with information about Levi’s whereabouts can call 07528088889.