Did Stallone ‘Keep’ the Turtles from ‘Rocky’?

Red-eared sliders can live for decades, as these ones have.

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Image via Sylvester Stallone Instagram page

Claim

"Rocky" film star Sylvester Stallone kept the turtles from his 1976 film as pets.

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Origin

In late August 2021, some social media users marveled at reports that actor Sylvester Stallone kept two turtles from the 1976 film he starred in, “Rocky,” as pets — and that the two turtles are still alive. For example, a popular Reddit post on Aug. 22, 2021, stated Stallone “still has” the reptiles from more than four decades ago.

It’s true that Stallone posed in a photograph with the two red-eared sliders, named “Cuff” and “Link,” which were the original turtles seen in the 1976 movie. In a 2019 Instagram post, Stallone said the turtles also were in the 2018 film “Creed II,” an installment in the “Rocky” movie franchise.

We don’t know the current status of the reptiles, as of this writing; however, red-eared sliders that are well cared for are known to live into their 40s and potentially longer. Cuff and Link serve as good reminders that owning turtles as pets could well entail a decades-long commitment due to their long lifespans.

Although many interpreted Stallone’s Instagram post to mean that the actor personally kept the turtles as his own pets, that doesn’t appear to be the case.

In 2006, the Philadelphia Inquirer contacted the turtles’ original owner, Joseph Marks, who said the turtles are females and were about 5 years old at the time the first “Rocky” movie was shot. Marks, who owned J&M Tropical Fish, lent the turtles for the film’s production, and they were returned when the movie wrapped.

Marks told the Inquirer at that time that the turtles still lived in the (now-closed) pet store featured in the movie as the place where Rocky’s love interest, Adrian, worked. They were cared for there by Marks’ nephew, John Stuart, who apparently kept them alive and well for decades.