Common snapping turtle.

Porthos the travelling turtle found after 12 days on the lam

Aldergrove owner reported her pet reptile missing after she discovered his covered pool was empty

Where Porthos the snapping turtle went for 12 days will likely remain a mystery. But thanks to an observant Langley RCMP officer, the reptile is now back home, after he was found strolling in downtown Aldergrove.

The turtle’s owner said she went to check on her pet, which she thought was secured in a covered pool outside in her backyard, on June 29. But Porthos was nowhere to be found.

She searched the area near her home in the 26500 block of 30 Avenue, but couldn’t find the animal. Fearing he had been stolen, she called police.

“The owner cautioned officers about handling Porthos if he was found,” said Langley RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Holly Largy.

According to a U.S. animal control website, a snapping turtle’s neck is flexible enough that it can bite the hand of a person who is holding it by its shell. Snapping turtles have extremely powerful jaws and sharp claws, making them particularly dangerous when they feel threatened.

An officer on foot patrol in downtown Langley, in the 26200 block of Fraser Highway looked down at his feet and saw Porthos coming his way.

“The officer knew that the turtle had been missing,” said Largy. “When he picked it up the turtle retreated into its shell and didn’t come out again until its owner said his name. That’s how we confirmed ownership.”

Police don’t know whether the turtle was stolen or had escaped. They also don’t know where it was for 12 days or how it got as far as it did, but they said Porthos was in a good health when he was found.