Today was the first very very warm spring day, so warm you realize that spring wll be over soon.
As my husband and I were returning from the gym this evening, we noticed a lot of people standing in the middle of our street, around a large black lump that looked like somebody’s overcoat.
“Turtle!” I yelled. (In our family it is important to yell out if you see a turtle.)
We stopped, of course. The turtle was really large, larger than any serving platter I own, I would say he would more than fill a bathroom sink. He was very dark and muddy looking, as if he had just crawled out of the primordial ooze. A snapping turtle, no joke. He had long sharp claws, and on his tail were studs. He didn’t have his head pulled in, it was out and you could see his teeth.
A dog was sniffing at him, and children were chattering, and one Dad-type was poking the turtle with a stick.
In my opinion, What’s not to love about turtles? They are adaptable peace-loving omnivores who are very clear about their personal boundaries.
Another Dad-type said he was going to get his shotgun. One of the moms felt quite strongly that the turtle didn’t belong in the neighborhood.
“Why not?” I said. “This seems like a reasonable habitat for him. We have a fox around here.”
“And bunnies. And skunks.” said the kids.
“But he might bite a dog,” the mom said.
“Well, then the dog will learn not to pester it,” I said.
I have a feeling I will never become friends with this mom. She gave me A Look.
We all agreed that animal control wouldn’t do anything about it. Someone suggested the turtle be located to nearby Willow Pond.
I know that pond, it’s adjacent to the neighborhood pool and in the summer the area is besieged by children. I suggested we relocate the turtle to a small nature preserve called Claude Moore Park, also close by. I offered to bring him there myself.
At that moment another Dad-type emerged (not the stick Dad or the shotgun Dad). He had a very large plastic tub and a pair of gloves. His wife, with a baby on her hip said to me, “He loves turtles. He’s forever stopping and taking pictures of them on his iPhone.”
So nice to meet a kindred spirit!
The man picked him up and plopped him in the tub, ready to cart him over to his new home.
As they left, Shotgun Dad commented, “Now he’s a box turtle.” Which was funny. And I’m sure he’s a perfectly nice person. I had a nice long chat with baby-on-the-hip Mom.
I wish the Sugarland Snapping Turtle a long happy life in his new locale! I will look for him when I go for my walks in the woods there.
And now the ice cream truck is dinging its bell.