Back in May 2022 we took in a large Red Slider turtle that was found wandering the neighborhood. We named it Tortuga and put it in our little pond, and it’s been happy there ever since. In May 2023 we added our grandkids’ turtle, Jaws, another red slider who had been in an aquarium for 15 years and was smaller than Tortuga at 6-8″. The two females got along, basking and swimming together and everything was great for about a month.
We had installed a hot wire around the pond to deter raccoons, and a camera to make sure that it worked. One night in June, right after I turned the camera on, it caught Jaws jumping off the rocks into the water at 9:07pm! This was very unusual as the turtles typically were underwater sleeping when the sun set. I thought that she had fallen asleep basking and went to bed late?! Then at 9:20, she did it again! Crazy turtle! Three days later she disappeared. The camera didn’t show any intruders at night, so we think she bailed out. We searched the property daily for over a month, thinking she couldn’t get that far. Online we found that turtles frequently travel during the spring. over land in search of a mate or to lay eggs. After roaming wild for who knows how long, maybe Tortuga told Jaws that it was a big wide world out there and she should go out an adventure?! There aren’t any other ponds or streams around and we were worried sick… and assumed she was gone for good.
A week ago, my husband picked up a piece of trash on the road while walking the dog… There was a phone number on the back and Kim from Windsor Family Farm told us that she drove down our street the day before, to take her sick lamb to the veterinarian that lives past our house. She saw a turtle in the road and worried that it would get run over, took it home with her to San Martin 45 mins away.
She sent us a picture confirming that it was indeed Jaws… who had been missing for 50 days!! We picked her up the next morning at Kim’s wonderful farm full of all of kinds of animals including this 125-year-old tortoise that came over to get pets from Kim.
Jaws is now safe and sound, back with Tortuga in the pond. We’ve added hardware cloth to the back of the step to keep her from bailing out again anytime soon. It’s so amazing that she found her way back. What an adventure it must have been!