updated 8/17/2004 10:39:57 AM ET 2004-08-17T14:39:57

A pregnant tortoise missing for about a week was returned home unharmed in an Army duffel bag.

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David and Brenda Morris said they discovered their 90-pound African Spur Thigh tortoise named Mother on their front porch Sunday in the city about 50 miles north of Indianapolis.

Mother had been missing since someone was seen about a week ago taking her from the couple’s backyard. David Morris said the theft brought him to tears, comparing it to “waking up and finding your 13-year-old son or daughter missing from your home.”

When she was found Sunday, Mother was hungry but otherwise safe, the owners said. After devouring a banana and an ear of corn, she was released into her backyard home, where she spent the night huddling with her mate, Flash, in a doghouse.

The duffel bag contained several other items, including a letter addressed to “Becky” from “Jeff,” a black T-shirt, bubble gum and a certificate of authenticity for a collectible doll, the couple said.

The owners said they do not know who took the animal.

Mother is expected to lay an estimated 60 to 70 eggs in about two months.

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