Santa Fe homeowner searches for escaped tortoise

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SANTA FE, N.M. – A tortoise is on the run and, while he may not run far, his new owner knows all about his history of covering some serious ground.

“I was like, I’m not moving to New Mexico, like, there’s not enough grass for my horses, why would I do that?” said Allyson Quigley.  

Quigley is now warming up to the Land of Enchantment.

“I really like it here, I like it here a lot. So, I’m eating my own words. You know?” Quigley said. 

Her horses are happy in New Mexico and she’s starting a new job as a veterinarian. Her new house has a fishpond, a bee hive and a roommate of sorts.

“Frankie is about a 20-year-old African Spurred Tortoise and he came with this house,” explained Quigley. 

Since last weekend, Frankie has been nowhere to be found.

“Honestly, disbelief. I was like – are you? What?! How do I lose a 150-pound tortoise? How do I do that?” Quigley said. 

Upon closer examination, tortoise tracks lead to the broken metal bar and the conclusion of what happened.

“It’s like completely bent down there too so I can’t even put that back. That gate had held up for 18 years and somehow he just broke it and bent and went,” said Quigley. “I went out hiking, tried to find him. I saw a lot of rocks that look like him, but I never found him.”

She says you should not let the speed of a tortoise fool you, Frankie can cover some ground and he has in the past.

“He’s actually been found on the opposite side of Cerillos, over by different highways. He’ll push a rock to somehow get out. He’s gotten out about ten times in the past,” she said. 

The last time Frankie got out, he was apparently on the run for two weeks.

“He’s looking for the previous owners, saying ‘Excuse me, where’d my family go?’” said Quigley. 

Frankie’s previous owners had a 10-digit method to bring him home.

“Since I had just moved in, I didn’t change the phone number on his back, so it’s their old phone number,” Quigley said. 

They put a phone number on his shell directing Frankie’s finder to his rightful owner.

Now Quigley hopes it’s just a matter of time until somebody finds Frankie.

“He’s on an adventure. He’s out there somewhere,” said Quigley. 

Frankie’s jaw is extremely strong so, if you do see him, don’t touch him. 

More details are available here on how to contact Allyson if you’re the one to find Frankie.

This isn’t the first time a runaway tortoise has been reported on, either.

Back in 2019, a Roswell woman lost Dusty, her 100-pound tortoise. He had gotten out when a strong wind knocked the backyard gate open. Thankfully, Dusty was found. 

Then, in June 2017, a man in Eldorado was celebrating the return of his tortoise, Speedbump, for the third time. Speedbump decided to move over some cinder blocks and go for a tour of the nearby arroyo.