A Tampa fisherman caught himself a turtle a few months ago, put it in a fresh-water tank, and kept it in his backyard. But his intent wasn't so much to make the little guy a pet but to totally make him into soup.
Turns out, the guy caught a Kemp's ridley sea turtle, which happens to be a rare and endangered turtle.
Florida Aquarium officials say the fisherman snagged the saltwater juvenile turtle back in May.
However, an alert neighbor called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and reported the man. They swooped in and rescued the turtle just before the man could give him a nice warm bath on the kitchen stove.
According to Fish and Wildlife spokesman Gary Morse, the fisherman told investigators that he didn't know the animal he had captured was a sea turtle or that it was protected. All he knew was that it looked delicious.
The turtle was handed over to a Florida Aquarium veterinarian who said it was in decent condition but was lethargic and not eating well, which is totally understandable seeing how it was almost dinner and everything.
The aquarium named the turtle Lucky and released it back into the wild Wednesday.
"I'm going to miss him a little bit," said Susan Coy, a veterinary technician with the aquarium. "But I'm glad he didn't wind up on someone's dinner table."
"You ain't the only one, honey," Lucky probably said as he swam away.
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