Turtle with boy's initials carved on its shell found by his father 47 years later in same backyard

20120509170385-year-old Holland Cokeley found a turtle in his back yard. He picked it up, and recognized it as his son's turtle.

“I picked it up, and I thought ‘Oh geez, this is Jeff’s turtle!’” said Cokeley. “It’s been here for 47 years, and it still has the same the same markings on it!” Jeff was 13-years-old in 1965 when he carved “JC” and “1965″ on the turtle’s bottom shell and then released it back into the wild.

Turtle with initials carved into it surprises man


    1. Turtles aren’t even aware that revenge can be served in any way other than ‘cold’; but that just means plenty of time to brood darkly.

        1. Four decades of subsistence on a diet of slugs and hatred hones your vengeance powers…

    2. If you love a turtle, set it free.  If it comes back to you 47 YEARS LATER, it’s yours.  If it doesn’t, it never was.

    3. The real chilling thought is this turtle spent the last 47 years killing everyone with the initials “CJ” only to be denied justice at the end.

    1. Hmmmm… turtle soup!

      No, that’s something I wouldn’t do, like I don’t do veal.

      1. In the notes from one of the California Academy of Science’s Galapagos expeditions, they report finding a tortoise that they believe to be the last member of its species, documenting it and then dining on it.

  1. Is this one of that old guy’s turtles from the Seychelles that he sucked the life force out of?

  2.   I remember reading that it’s common for turtles to be very territorial.  There was something about them having a ‘homing sense’ not unlike that of certain birds but that book was pretty musty… still, great story.

  3. Female Eastern Box Turtle.  I have a ‘rescue’ Eastern Box who’s been with me since ’92.  It’s surprising that it survived being carved on.  The plastron scutes are no thicker than a fingernail, and like fingernails, have live tissue underneath.  The turtle should have died of infection.
    Seriously, kids, if you have to leave your initials on something pick a nice beech or oak.

    1. Yeah, it kind of struck me as a little cruel, too. But, fundamentally, its not much different than scaring a tree, really.

      Which reminds me, I have a small patch of woods by my parents house that I need to visit to check on a mutilation thats about 18 years old.

        1. Thats just it. All of Nature is ours to deface and demean in any way we choose. 
          This is nothing more than Graffiti on an animal. If a corporation did this we would be aghast.

          1. If a corporation where a young kid who did this 47 years ago we’d probably think it should not have done this, but moved on with being “aghast.”

        1. Maybe the turtle didn’t tell the boy to stop? Or, possibly its into that kinky stuff.

        2. I had the grading contractor save my logs when they cleared a small site for a cabin, and later hauled the logs to the sawmill to use for furniture making.  I halfway think one of the trees was/is cursed.  Never have I seen boards exhibit such a consistent pattern of inflicting injury (on me).

    1. The 13-year-old kind who doesn’t know better, but probably looks back and regrets what he did later?

  4. Is it just me or is there no turtle in that shell? Normally you can see bits of the turtle even when it’s withdrawn…

    1.  The angle of the hinged portion of the shell made me think so too- but a closer look seems to indicate that it is just closed up extremely tight.

    2. It’s a box turtle.  They can completely close their shells.  What you’re thinking about are aquatic turtles like painted turtles, they can’t close their shells completely and some of the turtle body still shows.

  5. The turtle came back in 47 years and died. That shell hasn’t been in the ground or exposed for a year. Turtle shells have  a covering that quickly becomes brittle and flakes off after death and then you have a white bony shell. Then that decomposes as well.

    EDIT: Hey reading and watching original sources it is not even dead.

  6. Is there something else carved in what’s the upper-right of that picture? H.. W? Maybe just an H?

    It’s not mentioned at all in the source article or video. 

  7. The story is only partially correct. The son didn’t really “release” the turtle, he was kind of pissed off at it and threw it not the woods yelling “I hate you turtle. You’re slow and nobody likes you!” When the father picked it up forty-seven years later, he heard the turtle say “I may be slow, but you’re ugly”.

    Edit: your -> you’re

  8.  This is probably NOT a Hoax. My father did the same thing in 55, and I found his turtle in the mid 80’s. He had also drilled a little hole in one corner of the shell so he could keep it on a leash.
     I don’t think I’d teach my child to carve into a turtle, but I’m not going to fault my father for doing it in 1955.  Sensibilities about animals were different then.
    On the other hand, it sort of makes me weep that a seven year old in 1955 had access to carving tools and a drill and if I gave those things to my son without supervision  I’d be strung out for an abuse or derelict of some sort…

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