Hundreds of turtles bolt - slowly - from captivity

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SUMMERVILLE, Ga. - Be on the lookout: Escapees are described as slow-movers with hard shells in a variety of colors such as red, yellow and green.

The search is on for more than 1,000 turtles after they made a slow-speed escape from their turtle farm in northwest Georgia.

Vandals might be to blame for tearing down fences around turtle ponds in Summerville, turtle farmer David Driver told sheriff's officials.

The damage allowed the turtles — including snappers, Eastern paints and yellow-bellied sliders — to bolt from the farm and make a beeline to nearby ponds and creeks, authorities said.

About 1,600 of the 2,200 turtles escaped, Driver told The Chattanooga Times Free Press. He says his business involves selling some turtles to pet-growing operations and others to China.

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Sheriff's officials are continuing to search for the turtles. And neighbors are stepping forward, offering to give Driver free turtles.

"Everybody's calling, saying, 'I've got turtles. Come get mine,'" he said.

Summerville, a town known as the home of artist Howard Finster, is about 90 miles northwest of Atlanta.

The rock band R.E.M. wrote a song, Maps and Legends, about Finster and his colorful artwork with lyrics such as "point to the legend, point to the east. Point to the yellow, red and green."

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