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Wayward Shrewsbury tortoise found safe

LIZ EVANS SCOLFORO
YorkDispatch

WEDNESDAY UPDATE:

Sophia, a 50-pound sulcata tortoise who escaped from her family's yard in Shrewsbury on Tuesday morning, is back home and doing fine, her family said.

She was found just a few blocks from the Westview Drive property from which she escaped, according to the Dunphy family.

REPORTED EARLIER:

Sophia had just minutes to make a break for it Tuesday morning, but she made the most of that brief window for escape.

And despite being a 50-pound tortoise, Sophia apparently raced like the proverbial hare from the yard of her family's Shrewsbury home.

"We barricaded her out in the yard ... but within five or 10 minutes she overcame the barricade and is nowhere to be found," said Sue Dunphy of Westview Drive.

The sulcata tortoise has been missing since about noon Tuesday, Dunphy said.

Dunphy said one of her family members rescued Sophia about three years ago because she was being mistreated by her previous owners.

About Sophia: It's believed she's less than 10 years old, according to the Dunphy family, who are quite attached to her.

Sophia is friendly and doesn't bite, they said.

She also doesn't mind being picked up — although someone trying to lift her might mind her weight, the Dunphy family said.

Sulcata tortoises can weigh up to 100 pounds or more and, like most large tortoises, are long-lived — perhaps 100 years or so, according to www.sulcata-station.org.

They are native to Africa's Sahel region, which is south of the Sahara Desert, and are the third-largest tortoises in the world, according to the website.

Dunphy is asking anyone who sees Sophia to call her at (717) 318-6177.

She said she or a family member will retrieve Sophia wherever she's found.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com.