Odd discoveries on planes are normally limited to discarded chewing gum lurking in a seat pocket or peanut crumbs in a seat. But not on this Australian flight, where a turtle fell from an overhead compartment and landed on a passenger.
In a bizarre event, a Murray River short-necked turtle landed on the foot of passenger Patrick Kelly just after a domestic Jetstar flight from Melbourne to Hobart landed. Kelly was reaching for his baggage when he encountered the tiny turtle, according to ABC News.
“At first I thought it was a toy turtle sort of statue — and then it moved on my feet,” he told the publication.
“It looked to be moving its little webbed legs fine and sticking its head in and out,” Kelly said. “It certainly didn’t look too scarred from the flight.”
Jetstar confirmed via email to Mashable Australia the turtle, which was the size of an Australian 50 cent coin, was found onboard. The flight’s crew contacted Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife, where it was handed over.
While the Murray River short-necked turtle is common in the mainstream pet trade, they are considered an invasive species in the Australian state of Tasmania.
They pose a risk to the state’s other freshwater species and waterways and have been prohibited from the state since 2008. The Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment said in an emailed statement the discovery was an example of the effectiveness of community involvement in the state’s biosecurity defences.
Unfortunately, the little turtle is to be euthanised as there is no capacity to send it back to the state of Victoria. “Given we don’t know it’s origin or if it’s carrying any diseases, we are unable to return the animal to its owner or the environment. It simply poses too great a risk to native animals,” a department spokesperson confirmed to Mashable Australia.
Don’t forget your turtle, because it may not end well.
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