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Master escape artist, 90-year-old turtle named Rocket, returns to Kansas zoo after 13 years

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Posted at 12:16 PM, Aug 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-19 15:19:55-04

WITCHITA, Kan. — A 90-year-old tortoise named Rocket has broken out of enclosures at two different zoos.

Rocket was one of the first animals at the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas, when it opened in the early 1970s.

By 2009, the 500-pound animal had become a master escape artist.

“He actually attained a length that could span the length of the bars," Rocket's handler in 2009, Nate Nelson, told ABC affiliate KAKE. "He could get his legs over the edge of this and just walk right down.”

Rocket was moved to the Tulsa Zoo, but it didn’t take him long to escape his enclosure there.

“We had the same problem where he escaped there multiple times,” Rocket’s handler at Tulsa Zoo, Chris Williams, told the news outlet.

He was then sent to a secure, state-of-the-art exhibit at the Bronx Zoo.

But now, he’s back home at the Sedgwick County Zoo.

It has a new tortoise exhibit that zookeepers hope Rocket won’t want to leave.