Meet Lord Fairfax, a 65-pound alligator snapping turtle who usually lives in rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico. Instead, this big guy was found roaming around the suburbs in Virginia. Fairfax County Animal Control officers responded to a call of an enormous snapping turtle in an Alexandria neighborhood.
Authorities said Lord Fairfax presented a "minimal" threat to humans, but "would have most likely experienced a slow death as a result of either freezing or starvation."
At 65 pounds, Lord Fairfax is probably a "youngster, as this species can reach weights exceeding 200 lbs," the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries wrote on Facebook. That's four times the size of the snapping turtles that are native to Virginia, which top out at 50 pounds.
Recently, our Animal Protection Police received a call about a large turtle in a residential area of Alexandria. Much to their surprise, it was a 65 lb alligator snapping turtle! Learn more at: https://t.co/RtHz4aJ5qP #FCPD pic.twitter.com/qgYFRmUyMS— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) June 15, 2020
As Lord Fairfax was likely bred in captivity, he could not be released back into the wild, officials said. Luckily for this turtle, the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk offered to make him part of a new exhibit, so Lord Fairfax will live out his life there.
Wildlife officials ask anyone considering a turtle as a pet to do their research, as many species of turtles have a life expectancy of 50 years and some can live to be 100. They also require special care.