Around 1,600 fugitive turtles are hiding out in ponds and creeks in northern Georgia after making a slow but deliberate getaway from a local farm. David Driver, one of only three turtle farmers in the state, says most of his turtles escaped after vandals or possible scrap metal thieves tore down metal fencing around his ponds. He says he only realized they had gotten away after neighbors called to say they'd seen turtles all over the roads, reports the Summerville News. The escapees include snappers, Eastern paints, and yellow-bellied sliders.
Driver says he spent years trapping the turtles, whose eggs he hatches in sheds before selling the baby turtles to pet dealers in the US and to China as food. "Packs of wild turtles running rampant in the Harrisburg area. Be advised," joked a sheriff's investigator before turning serious. "At the end of the day, it's a theft," he tells the Times Free Press. "It's hard enough to make it without somebody taking stuff." Driver says neighbors who have heard about the great escape have been offering him free turtles.