85-Lb. Tortoise Found Crawling Along Arkansas Highway After Escaping Home for Third Time

Potato the Sulcata tortoise was found slowly making her way alongside Interstate 40 on Sunday after breaking free from her backyard enclosure

Potato the Tortoise
Photo: fox16

While Potato the Sulcata tortoise may not have the speed, that didn't stop her from making her run — erm, crawl — from home in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The 14-year-old tortoise was found slowly making her way alongside Interstate 40 on Sunday after breaking free from her backyard enclosure, according to her owner Chelsea Hattaway.

"I was just hoping she hadn't been hit by a car," Hattaway told local news station KLRT.

The discovery marked the third time Potato — who weighed just 25 lbs. when Hattaway adopted her from a tortoise rescue nine years ago — had been found away from her home.

"She had never escaped in the nine years we had her but now this is her third escape," Hattaway explained, joking that her pet now "has a new hobby."

Potato first got her taste of the open road about a month ago when she crawled three doors down from the home of Hattaway's parents, according to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.

Potato the Tortoise

Though Potato was found on a driveway and returned back to her family, the tortoise made another break for it on Thursday by pushing through a gate that was loosely padlocked on Hattaway's property.

Her second escape prompted a neighborhood-wide search. "I know that's something you don't expect to hear when there's a knock on your door, 'Hey, have you seen an 85-lb. tortoise running around?' " Hattaway told KLRT.

Potato was returned to Hattaway on Sunday after the tortoise was found by a neighbor — this time attempting to cross an overpass over Interstate 40.

However, it didn't take long for Potato to make her third breakout.

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Hours after Potato was put back in her enclosure, Hattaway told the Gazette that she got a call from the Arkansas State Police letting her know that her tortoise was found alongside the highway again.

"She had to have just made a beeline for the highway," Hattaway said. "The dispatcher had seen it on Facebook so she knew there was a tortoise at large."

"When I got there, there were already three cars that had stopped," recalled Hattaway, who said that the gates have since been secured to prevent another escape.

Hattaway added of Potato, "She's got a lot of friends. She's got a following at this point."

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