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Surprisingly fleet-footed giant tortoise escapes Japan zoo… again

The escapee is female, weighs 55 kilogrammes (121 pounds) and has a "gentle" disposition -- but a history of running away.

A Japanese zoo said Thursday it was searching for its giant tortoise, which has escaped for the second time in less than two weeks.

The reptile, measuring about one metre (three feet, three inches) in length, was captured on security cameras as she wandered out of the main entrance of Shibukawa Animal Park in western Japan’s Okayama prefecture on Tuesday morning, according to zoo staffer Yoshimi Yamane.

The tortoise “won’t immediately die because it will eat grass available around the zoo, but we’re all very worried”, Yamane told AFP.

“She’s quiet and gentle,” Yamane said, adding that the zoo has received no reports of sightings of the approximately 35-year-old tortoise.

Tuesday’s escape was the second time in less than a fortnight that the fleet-footed reptile, which is allowed to walk freely inside the park during opening hours, fled the zoo.

Yamane said it was found walking down the road 150 metres away from the zoo on July 21.

“I spotted her on the way to the zoo. I stopped my car and asked my colleagues to help,” she said.

“She can walk faster than we can ever imagine.”

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