Why did the turtle cross the road? Presumably to lay its eggs (and not, as some might think, in a deed of turtlish derring-do, or a foolhardy attempt to beat the traffic).
Today was a turtle day. On this afternoon's training ride, I saw a lovely painted turtle, about 7 or 8 inches long, sitting in the middle of my lane. I couldn't tell from its position which way it wanted to go, or I might have been tempted to stop and help it across the road. I said a quick prayer that it might make it across to whichever side it was aiming for - and continued on my way.
A few miles later, not far from a creek, I saw a completely different turtle sitting in the grass. A Very Large Turtle, this - a foot or more in length, with a snout pointed like a mole's, huge, broad feet, and shell and body of a uniform drabness.
"I can't pass this one up," I thought. "Tallulah has got to see a photo of this turtle."
I turned the bike around and slowly approached the behemoth. Not knowing what kind of turtle it was, I stopped a few feet away to take this photo:
The Very Large Turtle didn't move, so I leaned in a bit (for a close-up, you know) ... and quick as a wink, it turned around and made a dash for the tall grass bordering the creek.
Whoever said turtles were slow? This one was incredibly fast. In just a few seconds it was out of sight, leaving behind only a small but deep hole (which, I'm sorry to say, appeared to be empty).
A bit of Googling at home has revealed this to be a Snapping Turtle. Based on its impressive turn of speed, I am more inclined to call it a Snappy Turtle.
According to Wikipedia, June and July are peak laying season for Snapping Turtles. And now that I look at that top photo, there does seem to be a sort of dreamy look in the turtle's eye. I hope I haven't disrupted the reproductive process, or caused irreparable stress to an expectant turtle mother.
When I got home and expressed my fears to Tallulah, I must say she took it very calmly.
"I'm sure it'll all be fine," she said dismissively. "You know turtles can live to be over 100. And by the looks of it, this one has been around the block a few times. It'll take more than a cyclist with a camera to stop HER laying her eggs."
"Don't you wish you could have seen her too?" I asked.
"Nah. Everyone knows how grumpy snappers can be. AND they're omnivorous - if I got too close, she might have eaten me."
In deference to Tallulah's feelings, I forebore to mention that "omnivorous" is defined as "feeding on food of both plant and animal origin". I don't think that includes crochet turtles - even if they are made of 100% cotton thread.
Just don't tell her I said so.
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