A BOY from Ringwood who was left devastated after his pet tortoise went missing is all smiles now they have been reunited.

Kirsty Renton bought Tortoise George as a gift for her son Jake on his first day at school, six years ago.

Jake has looked after George ever since, feeding him, keeping his indoor house cosy and clean and walking him in the garden.

So when George went missing two weeks ago, a desperate Mrs Renton launched an appeal on Facebook, which went viral as hundreds of people posted runaway George’s photograph on other websites.

The family searched everywhere, but assumed the six-year-old tortoise, who had never gone missing before, had been stolen.

But on Sunday morning, Mrs Renton saw Tortoise George sitting on her patio, caked in mud with just a scratched nose as evidence of his eight-day adventure.

Mrs Renton said: “It looks as if he went to ground and possibly dug himself into our neighbour’s garden.

“My son was distraught. Tortoise George loves basking under his indoor light and mooching in the garden, but he never normally goes very far.

“Jake was so pleased to have him back home safe.”

Tortoises have the longest lifespan of any animal; many are known to have lived longer than 150 years Manuela, a tortoise from Brazil, went missing for 30 years in 1982, but she was found in a store room in 2013.