A turtle has been spotted alive and well in Yellowknife, one week after mounting a daring bid for freedom from the NWT SPCA.
The turtle, a red-eared slider not native to the territory, is said to have slipped away a week ago when SPCA staff gave the wily old con a sunbathing session outdoors.
Having escaped its plastic bin, the turtle vanished – abandoning its brother at the shelter. The very next day staff became convinced the turtle, unlike the cat, was not coming back.
However, on Friday hopes were rekindled when Yellowknife resident Dinah Elliott happened across the turtle during a bike ride.
Volunteers are now laying siege to the stretch of Deh Cho Boulevard by which the turtle was last seen, hoping to catch it when it makes an inevitable bid for high, rocky, prime sunbathing territory in the noon sun.
The spot where the turtle last appeared is marked by a boulder.
‘It’ll eat everything’
Elliott, who did not initially realize the turtle was a pet, posted an image of it to the NWT Species Facebook group with the caption: “My first NWT turtle!”
She later told Cabin Radio: “I wasn’t sure whether there were turtles in the NWT or not. There was a possibility it was a native turtle.
“Then I went to Google, tried to figure out what it was, and oh, crap, we don’t have turtles here. At that point I realized maybe I should have done something differently.”
On Facebook, an SPCA worker posted: “We thought he’s gone forever but there is hope.”
The last time a northern news organization got bored enough to report on a turtle, in 2014, an expert from Alberta told the CBC this was no laughing matter.
“The red-eared slider will eat everything and anything.” Dave Law said when a similar turtle escaped in Hay River. “It’ll even eat a bird. They eat mice, they eat insects, fish – you name it – and they will completely destroy an ecosystem.”
It’s not clear whether the turtle was attempting to knock Elliott off the bike for food.
“It sounds like this guy does not live up to the reputation of a typical turtle,” said Elliott.
“I thought, ‘Oh, Ollie wants to hear about this turtle, it must be a slow news day.’ But it turns out this turtle isn’t slow, it’s pretty quick.”