After four years on the run, Max the turtle may be back homeby Timothy Rutt
After four years of adventure -- Max the turtle is home again.
What adventures he's had -- he's not saying.
Max adopted the McLennan family about eight years ago. Laura McLennon said the red-eared slider, an invasive species discouraged in California, was bought from an Olvera Street vendor by one of her daughters, becoming the family pet. They took care of him (or her -- hard to tell with a turtle) for four years. They loved him -- they posted videos on YouTube. And, because he needed sunshine to keep his shell healthy, they frequently took him outside their home near Rubio Canyon and let him crawl around the yard.
But Max was a bit of a runner, McLennan said. Red sliders can move surprisingly fast. "He could move quick when he wanted to, and could go out into the street," she said.
One day, her daughters Alex and Lizzy were watching Max during one of his outdoor sojourns. Max settled motionless in the yard. After awhile, one daughter took off to run errands. After awhile, the other got bored and went inside -- completely forgetting about Max until later that evening.
McLennan, an attorney at Moore McLennan, LLP, in Glendale, said that the family searched for days, but the turtle was gone, and eventually they faced the inevitable and gave up.
Cut to four years later: the daughters have gone off to college -- Alex to Minnesota, Lizzy to Ohio. Life goes on. Then McLennan saw an unusual found pet posting on Altadenablog: somebody found a red-eared slider near Allen Avenue and La Paz .
Could it be Max?
"How many wild turtles are running around Altadena?" McLennan asked.
When Max disappeared, his shell was about four to five inches in diameter, and the found turtle was eight inches -- which means, four years later, he's about the right size, McLennan said. The finder was more than willing to give maybe-Max to his maybe-home, and he quickly settled in.
McLennan is convinced he's Max. "He still has all the same mannerisms -- he thinks he's hiding if he stands next to a rock in his cage," she said.
As for Lizzy and Alex, "they're so excited -- they can't believe it," McLennan said.
McLennan says "I'm going to keep him for awhile -- I think," but she's looking for a 60 gallon aquarium to put him in for maximum comfort. Right now, he's living in a Rubbermaid bin.
Of course, she still has to take him outside every once in awhile to bask in the sun. And, she says, the other day he tried to make a break for it -- he can still run pretty fast. For a turtle.