New York Times Reporter Rescues Mostly Frozen Turtle Outside Alleged Cockfighting Den


The animals of Woodhaven, Queens had a pretty exciting few days. First, a team of state and local police, led by the Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office, busted up an alleged cockfighting ring, right before a Saturday-night bout. Hens and roosters were rescued from a basement in Queens, a pet shop in Brooklyn, and thousands more from a farm upstate. (That was the good news; the bad news is that the roosters are going to be very hard to place, according to a chief officer at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, because they’ve been bred for aggression and are ill-suited to settling down to a quiet life on a farm somewhere.)

But in the midst of that less than heartwarming story, here’s a better one: yesterday, a New York Times metro reporter, in the midst of reporting a follow-up story in the neighborhood around the alleged cockfighting den, discovered a rather excellent turtle, half-buried in the snow and looking for a good home. Or crickets. He was probably looking for crickets.

NYT reporter Sarah Maslin Nir, a former nightlife columnist who now covers Queens for their Metro section, tweeted this photo of the chilly little fellow:

According to our extensive research (read: five minutes on the internet), that’s a red eared slider, native to the southern U.S. and Mexico and totally unable to regulate their body temperature. When it gets below 50 degrees, they enter a sort of state of suspended animation, in which they can neither eat nor poop, which does not sound like a very good time. Although they can survive that way for quite some time, common sense still suggests that a snowy garbage pile isn’t the best place to winter.

Then Nir got to drive around Queens with a turtle, for which we are very, very jealous:

The turtle seems neither into it nor, you know, not into it. The turtle seems neutral on the whole thing.

Nir reported that she dropped the turtle off with her parents in Manhattan, where he dined on poached salmon and floated meditatively in a bathtub, pondering the fickle and ever-changing nature of fate:

The NYT Metro team reports that they’re taking care of Mr. or Ms. Turtle, and will soon turn it over to the turtle enthusiasts at the New York Turtle and Tortoise Society . In the meantime, however, they’re in search of a name. May we suggest Gamera? Because “Shelly” or something from the Nina Turtles is just cliche.