Now that’s something you don’t see every day!

By Meghan Overdeep
June 18, 2020
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Residents of Alexandria, Virginia, got an unexpected visit from turtle royalty recently.

Lord Fairfax, a 65-lb alligator snapping turtle, raised more than a few eyebrows when he was spotted lumbering through a residential neighborhood last week.

Alligator snapping turtles, which prefer rivers further south, aren’t native to the area. According to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF), Lord Fairfax was most likely bred in captivity. He wouldn’t have survived long in the wild.

“Although the threat to humans was minimal, this animal would have most likely experienced a slow death as a result of either freezing or starvation,” VDGIF explained on Facebook. “At 65 lbs., this one was a youngster, as this species can reach weights exceeding 200 lbs. Our native snapping turtle only reaches a maximum weight of around 50 lbs.”

“If you are considering a turtle as a pet, please do your homework first and find out what it takes to provide adequate care for a lifelong commitment,” the department continued. “Many species of turtle can live a minimum of 50 years and others more than 100.”

As a captive-bred animal, the giant turtle can never be released into the wild. Fortunately, Lord Fairfax has found a home at The Virginia Zoo in Norfolk. The zoo hopes to include him in a new exhibit.

Best of luck, sir!