One day in 1965, a 13-year-old boy named Jeff Cokeley discovered a box turtle on his family's farm in southwestern Pennsylvania. The youngster carved his initials and date into the turtle's shell and then let it go -- possibly hoping by some hand of fate, he would see the creature again someday.
So when Jeff Cokeley received a phone call and a picture from his father on Friday saying the turtle had been found, he "just started laughing" and "had to show [his] wife," according to the Observer Reporter. His father Holland Cokeley, 85, was walking a dog on his farm when the pooch discovered the turtle and its unmistakeable markings.
"I picked it up, and I thought ‘Oh geez, this is Jeff's turtle!’" Holland Cokeley told KDKA Pittsburgh. "It's been here for 47 years, and it still has the same -- the same -- markings on it."
After taking a picture of the turtle and calling his son in upstate New York, Holland Cokeley kept it around for a couple days and then released it back into the wild, the station reports.
According to the Massachusetts Division Of Fish & Wildlife, the average life expectancy for an Eastern Box Turtle is 40 to 50 years, but they may live to be 100.