Missing Port Charlotte tortoise returns home for Christmas

Posted at 10:59 PM, Dec 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-07 22:59:58-05

A Port Charlotte family is whole again after their pet tortoise, Sheldon, was found safe and sound.

"It's got to be a Christmas miracle," said Tasha Chalone, who has searched for Sheldon for the past month and a half.

She announced the prodigal reptile's return on Facebook with a picture of decked out Sheldon in a Santa Claus hat as he munched on lettuce in the backyard.

"We will always remember this Christmas I think. The kids are really happy and everyone is really excited," said Chalone.

Tasha got a call Monday from a Florida Fish and Wildlife officer who found Sheldon twenty miles away in Punta Gorda. After Tasha confirmed it was the real Sheldon this time, the officer gave him a lift home.

"He walked right up to the fence and in through the gate and into his house, like, 'I'm happy to be home'," she said.

Her children playing with Sheldon as they tried to make up for the past six weeks.

"It's crazy to think that he was gone for that long and to all of a sudden be back and like he was never gone," said Tasha.

Her son, Owen, was nervous about his missing friend.

"I was super worried but now I'm so glad he's home," he said.

Sheldon's homecoming wasn't the only one. One month ago, a vet called Tasha and said they found Sheldon.  But once Tashas's husband brought it home, they realized it wasn't him. Tasha was able to return that tortoise to its owner.

"She was happy to have hers back," she said.

Tasha still can't get over him back in his little home.

"I still walked out the past two days and I'm like, 'Is he really here? Yeah, he's here.' It's just strange that six weeks passed and he's back like he always was," said Tasha.