Editor's Note: This story has been updated with new information.
My heart grew three sizes when I saw that last year, Sylvester Stallone had posted an Instagram with two turtles who appeared to be Cuff and Link, the turtles his titular character purchases in 1976's Rocky. Given the caption Sly provided — "In CREED 2 with my original buddies from the first Rocky ... CUFF and LINK, now about 44 years old!" — along with a few other articles and a recent Reddit post, I assumed he had kept the turtles all these decades, and they were to make a cameo in the 2018 sequel. Unfortunately, this wasn't accurate. After receiving a tip that these were not the original turtles, but new turtles provided for the film by Briar Bush Nature Center in Abington, PA, we reached out and spoke to Katie Fisk, the environmental educator and animal curator.
"It was a great experience being on the set and watching all the work that goes into movies," said Fisk, confirming that the center provided the turtles. "Originally there was going to be a scene in the movie where Rocky talked to the turtles, fed them, and put a plastic plant in their tank, but it got pulled in the final edit. I'm sure the turtles were quite upset that they missed their big break."
The original Cuff and Link would be well into their 40s by now, but that's not a ripe old age for red-eared sliders. According to Fisk, the species can live for up to 75 years in captivity!
"Our red-eared sliders have been at Briar Bush Nature Center since 2006, after someone abandoned them in our pond, a common fate for pet turtles," Fisk told us. "Red-eared sliders can reach adult size in only two years, so we have no idea of their age. They were already local celebrities before their stardom in the movie, as they are a part of our outreach animal ambassador collection and travel all over the Philadelphia area educating children and adults alike. Many people when they see Sly's selfie comment on how small their tank is and worry about their welfare. I am happy to say that the tank in the photo was only the tank on set, and they only spent a day in it. They were quite comfortable and even fell asleep in it! Their home here at Briar Bush is much more luxurious."
Here are a couple pictures of them in their daily habitat, courtesy of the Briar Bush Nature Center.