The Great Turtle Escape

I’ve had turtles forever…since I was a tiny little kid.  Of course, when I got my first turtle, our family didn’t know much about turtles.  My friend had a few box turtles and I had decided they were too boring, so I wanted a water turtle.

Thus, my first turtle – Sparky.

Sparky eventually got two friends – Rosie and K2.   K2 was a young little thing, while mama Rosie was a bit well aged.  Eventually she went to turtle heaven.  But K2 and Sparky remained.  Fast forward about 15-20 years now…

My turtles have a tank in a small room that’s off my home office (which is a converted spare bedroom).  From my desk I can see about half the tank without craning my neck too much.

Back a bit ago I was working in my office at home and thought to myself – hmm, I can’t see the turtles from here – let’s see what their up to.  Occasionally they’ll stack themselves on top of each other on the land portion, just to get a better view or something.  So I went to check out their deal.

However…when I came into the room, I immediately noticed a lack of turtles in the water.


Now – I’ve seen the turtles attempt to go on unauthorized field trips before and have long since fixed that issue by simply ensuring they can’t double-stack themselves on the little floating island and then climb out the top of the tank (seriously!).  Further, I usually put a heavy object on the front portion of the tank lid to prevent them from opening it (oh…they’ll try).

So…back to walking into the room…

I wander in and for a brief moment in time there’s just silence.  Kinda like when you’re playing hide and seek and you know someone’s in the room. (For those curious, my turtles don’t bark or anything, but they do bonk into things seemingly all the time when they see you coming – thus absolute silence is actually unusual).

However – that silence was brief.  As approximately half a second later all heck broke loose.  I heard a cacophony of clunking, thumping and scratching. And then a bunch more scratching and then silence again.

I thought…what the heck is going on here?  And dude…where’s my turtles anyway?


So I pry my head behind the tank where there’s a small 4” wide gap between it and the wall.  There I find Mr. Sparky and Mr. K2 looking up at my in confusion…and some guilt and shame.  Their little heads pulled back into their shells trying to say “Umm…hi boss…” or perhaps “If I can’t see you, you can’t see me!”.


Now, it turns out that when I came into the room they were ever so carefully balanced on the upper edge of the aquarium.  Well…apparently when I showed up I scared the crap out of them.  As a result of my exciting (and unexpected) arrival, they lost their balance and fell down the backside of the tank near the wall (thankfully no actual crap was scared out, because that’s messy to clean up).  The problem they had at that juncture was now two fold.

The first issue being that one of them fell upside-down on top of the other one, kinda like two burger buns inverted on top of each other.  A turtle burger if you will…

The second issue being that there’s a metal bar behind the tank that holds up some bookshelves (above the tank).  They fell in a section that then made it too slim for their shells to simply walk back out to freedom.   Thus…they were essentially trapped.

Now, they had managed to somehow (and I’m still unclear how), get themselves up onto that edging (all of 3/4” wide), and then hang out there (I had forgotten to put the back piece of cover plastic on preventing their access).  As the time though the water level was too low – so they had to leverage the little floating island to use as a stepping stool to the upper edge.  But how both of them did it was beyond me.  Sure, I can see one of them while using the double-stack method (one climbs on tpo of the other, and then climbs to freedom).  But two?  That’s a whole different story that I have no explanation for.

Either way…Escape Fail.


The lesson learned here is useful in life.  If you’re ever about to get caught in the act escaping – don’t make a racket and then fall upside and get stuck.  Never works out in the end.


Hopefully, you found this post useful. The website is really a labor of love, so please consider becoming a DC RAINMAKER Supporter. This gets you an ad-free experience, and access to our (mostly) bi-monthly behind-the-scenes video series of “Shed Talkin’”.

Support DCRainMaker - Shop on Amazon

Otherwise, perhaps consider using the below link if shopping on Amazon. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but your purchases help support this website a lot. It could simply be buying toilet paper, or this pizza oven we use and love.


Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked.
If you would like a profile picture, simply register at Gravatar, which works here on DCR and across the web.

Click here to Subscribe without commenting

Add a picture



  1. Did you leave them stuck there to teach them a lesson?

  2. Crazy Turtles!!! The trouble they can get into!!!

  3. love the turtle adventure story… that was great! :-)

  4. Contrite little turtle burger. Love it.

  5. Dude what a turtley kewl post!

    (You have to say with an OTT surfer accent)

  6. Loved the story! Maybe next time if your turtles get ahold of some green goo you might not be so lucky to find them as easily! Cowabunga!

  7. LOL! Sneaky turtles. That’s just too funny! My grandfather has had some tortoises for going on 30 years now…they don’t do much but hang out in their pen in the yard (CA weather nicer in winter), dig holes and eat lettuce.

  8. That’s awesome. I think they’re mad that you chose not to dress up as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle for Halloween. Only ninja turtles could sneak out of a tank like that!

  9. Ha, you need to install a video camera to see what’s going on when you’re not looking. If you speed it up I think some of their antics might be good enough for one of those funniest home video shoes :-)

  10. This is awesome. Reminds me of the Alcatraz tour I just took, when the dudes busted out through the ventilation system. The only thing missing is that your turtles should have left life-sized replicas of themselves behind so they’d pass bed check at night and you wouldn’t get suspicious.

    Thanks for the great story.

  11. Great story! I’m a new reader to the blog (found it when I googled ‘aero bottle’) but have quickly become a regular reader! I once owned two miniature turtles (in Japan, I don’t think they’re legal here in the US), and LOVED ’em. Well, one of ’em especially! Cartman (as in Eric Cartman from Southpark) was like a puppy, he followed me everywhere! I never knew turtles could have such personality and want attention! He also kept escaping from his so-called ‘escape proof’ tank. Once when I put him outside on our balcony in the winter to sun, I couldn’t find him anywhere. I thought a crow had snatched him…until I looked two stories down and found the poor guy! He survived! ;-)

  12. Interesting choice of pets, low maintenance I assume. I agree with Shirley on the video cam, turtle antics in high speed are probably quite entertaining.

  13. Ray,

    It is a good thing you found them when you did rather than a day or two later. Make sure those crazy turtles stay in their tank when you leave for a business trip or else they will take over the place and have a party and trash your house.

  14. Didn’t you tell those two that You Can’t Go Home Again?

  15. I have turtle sat for two different people and their turtles were never that interesting. Maybe the trick is they need two to be mischievous?

  16. I ❤ that video! It’s sooo cool!

  17. Alice

    too cute :)