Image: Wille the tortoise
Kellie Copeland-Burnup  /  The Post and Courier via AP
Willy, a tortoise, belonging to Kellie Copeland-Burnup of Ridgeville, N.C., walks past the family dog Sunday. After a month on the lam, the 40-pound tortoise with a 2-foot-wide, gold-colored shell is back in the wading pool at his owner's home.
updated 8/22/2006 8:35:40 AM ET 2006-08-22T12:35:40

Willy the tortoise made a break for freedom — well, break may be too strong a word. It was more like a slow crawl. But after a month on the lam, the 40-pound tortoise with a 2-foot-wide, gold-colored shell is back in the wading pool at his owner's home.

Kellie Copeland-Burnup reported the tortoise escaped about July 1.

A local emergency medical services technician spotted Willy on Sunday along a rural road about five miles away. During six weeks on the run, Willy averaged .005 mph, well short of a new land speed record.

The tortoise is now inside a chain-link dog kennel in Copeland-Burnup's back yard although she knows he is capable of digging under a fence.

"I'll be keeping an eye on him," Copeland-Burnup said.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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