Monster turtle on the move in central Lubbock - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/26/10

Monster turtle on the move in central Lubbock

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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – Employees at Forsman Orthodontics near the South Loop and Quaker say they weren't really sure what to think when they got to work Wednesday morning. They saw some sort of large wildlife they have never seen before.

They weren't sure how to describe it. "I had to stop and stare at it because it just seemed huge.""Biggest I've ever seen.""It tends to cause quite a bit of excitement when they come up. They look very much like Dinosaurs." "The tail was very long so it made it look more like a Komodo dragon kind of tail with the little spikes on it. I just had never seen anything like that."

Everyone who walked into Forsman Orthodontics Wednesday morning noticed the biggest turtle most of them had ever seen. They noticed his size, about two feet in length.

They all noticed his tail, long and spiky. Dr. Joe Forsman noticed his dental work. "It was evident by looking at him that he was here for an overbite correction."

The South Plains Wildlife Center said this is a snapping turtle, and they're common in this area, but it is unusual to actually see one. "They live in the mud, down under the mud in the Playa lakes, and they're rarely seen," says Gail Barnes with the South Plains Wildlife and Rehabilitation Center.

They think the turtle probably moved during Tuesday night's storms. "Dr. Forsman and his staff worried about the turtle being out of his natural habitat, so they took him back across the street to this Playa lake where they think he came from," says Barnes.

Barnes says the turtle needed to get back to the water, but they also warn people not to bother them if they do see one. "If someone puts a finger in front of them, they can really bite."

So after an eventful morning, the orthodontist got back to work, and the turtle made it back home.

A Texas Tech professor with the Wildlife Center said the turtle was probably about 40 to 50-years-old, and could have lived in that playa lake its whole life without being seen much.

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