On Wednesday I ran into T., a turtle-loving friend (who was in fact wearing a turtle t-shirt that day). She has a large turtle enclosure in her back yard, and can reel off all sorts of chelonian facts and figures, especially as relating to the native Wisconsin species.
Of course I had to tell her about my Tuesday turtle encounter. When I described the Very Large Turtle I had seen, T. asked if the shell was bumpy or smooth.
"Smooth," I replied.
"Then it's not a snapper," she said. "It's a softshell."
This sent me back to the computer for some exhaustive online research (in other words, about 10 minutes' Googling), which confirmed her statement.
So the Very Large Turtle of Tuesday's post, the turtle with such an impressive turn of speed, is not a Snapper at all...
...it's a Smooth Softshell.
According to Wikipedia, Softshells "can move at speeds of up to 15 miles per hour". Pretty darn snappy, if you ask me.
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I did wonder why Tallulah hadn't corrected me as to the V.L.T.'s taxonomy. "Why did you call it a Snapper?" I ask her.
"I called it a snapper because you called it a snapper," is her answer.
"But you looked at the photos. You commented on how old she was."
"Sure I did - anyone can tell she's got some years on her. The wrinkles alone are a dead giveaway, not to mention the size of that shell," says Tallulah (with all the healthy scorn of the young and wrinkle-free for those of maturer years).
"So how did you miss the fact that she's not a snapper at all?" I ask.
"I didn't miss it. I just didn't want to correct you."
"Why ever not?" I say, bewildered.
"Because this is Wisconsin. It's simply not done. We're only supposed to nod our heads and say nice things to each other," replies Tallulah.
"Agreement before accuracy, you mean?"
"Exactly. So you see," she says, "I was merely trying to fit in - and be polite, don'tcha know" (this with a virtuous air).
Repressing the urge to snort with derision (a result, no doubt, of my brusquely Californian upbringing), I respond: "Your endeavour to assimilate is much appreciated, Tallulah. But you needn't worry about hurting my feelings - I'd much rather have the straight facts. Especially when a blog post is concerned. Could you do that for me?"
"Yep," says Tallulah. "You betcha!"
"Thanks," I reply. "Now what would you like for lunch?"
"How about cheese curds?" she says.
(At least she didn't ask for beer and brats. We're fresh out of those.)
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