07/31/2013 02:13 EDT | Updated 07/31/2013 11:18 EDT

Turtle Burger Smuggler: Chinese Man Fails To Sneak Pet Onto Plane

They make great pets and excellent teenage-mutant crime fighters but not the best seat mates.

That's the lesson one passenger found out after trying to smuggle his pet turtle pass security at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou, China earlier this week.

The passenger, only identified as Mr. Li by the South Morning China Post, was making his way to China Southern Airlines flight 345 to Beijing on Monday when he was caught with his pet sandwiched between a KFC burger inside his bag. As Li's bag passed through the airport's x-ray machines, scans revealed "unusual protrusions" poking out from Li's meal, notes the Australian.

That's when airport staff started grilling Li about his turtle burger.

"Sir, are you sure there are no turtles in your bag?" one airport staff member asked according to a translated report in the Daily Telegraph.

"There's no turtle in there – just a hamburger," said Li who was travelling to Beijing. "There's nothing special to see inside."

The turtle was eventually returned to Li who allowed a friend to take care of the reptile while he was away. He said he only wanted to travel together with his "beloved turtle", according to the South China Morning Post.

The rules behind flying with pets vary between airlines but most allow pets like birds, dogs and cats to be checked in as carry-on or checked baggage. WestJet for example, allow smaller critters like hedgehogs, guinea pigs and chinchillas to travel but only as checked luggage. The airline's policy doesn't explicitly mention turtles.

So remember: the next time you're thinking of flying, turtles can travel through time but not in the air.

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