A TORTOISE that went missing for a whole year has returned to its loving family.

The Hermann Tortoise which is named Totty, has a lifespan of between 40 and 60 years but strolled out the family garden last summer.

Steffi Stern, who brought the family pet as a present for her daughters birthday talked of how her children were overjoyed to find the tortoise.

"I got a call from my daughter Fenja when she told me that she had found Totty by sheer coincidence while she was thwacking brambles," said Steffi.

"Our delight could not be put into words.

"She told me later that she thought she was in a dream when she suddenly found our lost tortoise."

Steffi believes Totty the tortoise was hibernating during winter and dug herself underground for the extreme winter to stay there until the earth warmed up.

"My youngest daughter Fenja was particularly upset and never stopped looking, even weeks later," added Steffi.

Fortunately, the tortoise is back in the loving arms of its family where it has been fed plenty of apple and dandelion which she loves.