Turtle Carved With Son's Initials Found By Father - 47 Years Later


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What's better than finding a stranger's message in a bottle? How about finding a turtle with the initials and date carved by one's own son, 47-years ago. That's what happened to 85-year old Holland Cokeley on May 6th, 2012, while walking his dog in South Strabane Township in Washington County, Pennsylvania.

The fun saga began in 1965 when Mr. Cokeley's then 13-year old son Jeff was hanging around in the woods that surrounded his family home and came across a tiny box turtle. On a whim, he picked up the little reptile and carved out his initials J.C. and the year 1965 on the turtle's bottom hard shell, before letting it scurry away into the bushes.

While growing up he came across the turtle a couple of times, but then forgot all about it, especially once he moved away from the area, almost 35 years ago. So you can only imagine how surprised Jeff, who is now 59-years old and resides in Rochester, NY was, when he received a call from his father that he had just managed to not only see, but also, take pictures of the box size turtle that has grown to the size of a man's hand, but still sports the etchings on his shell, quite clearly. The errant turtle is now on the prowl again - Maybe someone else from Jeff's family will discover it, in another 49 years!

Box turtles are endemic to North America. Found primarily in the South Central, Eastern and South Eastern regions they feature domed shells that are hinged at the bottom. This allows the reptile to close its shell tightly when faced with predators. In the wild, the tiny creatures forage for food, primarily plant matter, on land and sleep inside burrows or wedged under fallen trees or rocks to keep safe from predators. They also require plenty of fresh water for rehydration and while not expert swimmers, can paddle around pretty efficiently. Omnivorous when young, they turn largely vegetarian as adults. While the average life span of the box turtle is about 50 years, some can live as long as, 100 years which, seems to be the direction 'J.C., 1965' is heading towards.

Resources: observer-reporter.com.anapsid.com

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  • gold3nglare
    gold3nglareThursday, May 6, 2021 at 11:30 am
    I hope the turtle didn't suffer when somebody decided to carve their name on them. How selfish a rude. That's animal abuse right there.
    • oofio
      oofioFriday, February 9, 2018 at 6:28 am
      poor turtle shell
      • valtryekMonday, February 27, 2017 at 11:01 am
        thats actually kind of sad
        • wowFriday, May 6, 2016 at 8:47 am
          wow that is super cool super confused how the dad didn't die from being so excited ------
          • puppy1
            puppy1Tuesday, April 19, 2016 at 11:00 am
            Wow that is amazing
            • zotusyjusu
              zotusyjusuThursday, March 24, 2016 at 9:02 am
              this is so cool
              • kaka123Tuesday, March 22, 2016 at 7:03 am
                omg thatś so cool
                • hernaday001
                  hernaday001Thursday, February 18, 2016 at 9:10 am
                  • woodsjac002
                    woodsjac002Friday, February 5, 2016 at 9:25 am
                    • donbenito
                      donbenitoTuesday, January 5, 2016 at 9:52 pm
                      AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING THATS ALL I CAN SAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!