Lake Charles man finds unique turtle - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Lake Charles man finds unique turtle

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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

Twenty-two-year-old Ross Theriot of LeBleu Settlement in Lake Charles is a true outdoors man and says he's no stranger to strange creatures.

"In the shrimp nets, I can't even think of one thing at the top of my head," said Theriot. "Out in the Mermentau River, I've seen all types of crazy stuff come out there."

But it's a unique turtle he saw near Gibbstown Bridge that made him look twice.

"We saw something on the road, stopped to pick it up and it was a turtle," said Theriot. "It's the biggest one I've ever seen like this. Apparently, the zoologist says they've got bigger but, this is the biggest one I've ever seen."

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries say scientists call it a "River Cooter" and they're commonly found in rivers, bayous and sometimes lakes.

They also say the average "River Cooter" measures 9 to 12 inches but the one Theriot found is slightly bigger than average.

"It's a little over 13 inches," said Theriot.

Theriot has since made the turtle his own.

"For an animal that can't speak or make any vocal noises, this thing is loud," said Theriot. "It makes it a little bit hard to sleep at night if you want the truth about it.  It just clunks around the house."

But Theriot's first thoughts weren't so hospitable.

"My first instinct? Honestly? Dinner," said Theriot.

After caring for the turtle for a few days, Theriot says he just wants to return the turtle safely back to its home.

"It's old," said Theriot. "We've been out there through hurricanes and everything else. It's made it through two hurricanes, so, not much sense in me killing it. I couldn't bring myself to do it. I'm going to turn it back loose right where I found it."

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries say harvest of this type of turtle is allowed with a standard fishing license.

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