Jun 12 2012
With the onset of warm weather, turtles are out and about on the roads. Most are females, who leave their home waters to search for sandy soil in which to deposit their eggs. I met this formidable lady on a town road. While not the largest snapper I’ve encountered, she was pretty good-sized—perhaps half again as big as my helmet. And she had a disposition to match her appearance:
She’d just begun to cross the road when I first saw her, and I decided to offer her a lift. But as soon as I got close she swiveled around to face me. She moved with lightning speed, too. Try as I might I couldn’t get behind her. (For what I hope will be obvious reasons—the name is a clue—it’s important to approach snappers from the rear. See this page for details.) Things were not going according to script. So I opted for Plan B: gentle persuasion. A windfall limb would serve as my shepherd’s crook. I figured I’d stay with the lady, nudging her away from any danger, until she was off the road and out of harm’s way.
But Plan B was no more successful than the direct approach. When my improvised shepherd’s crook got too near her, the lady simply snapped off the end. Her feelings in the matter were manifestly clear. I didn’t need a second demonstration. Which left me with only one remaining alternative: watchful waiting. So I placed what remained of the deadfall limb in the road to alert oncoming cars and retreated a good 30 yards, hoping that, once I was out of sight, my reluctant fare would decide it was safe to cross.
Success at last! No cars appeared—I was prepared to wave them off if they had—and the lady completed her journey without incident. Soon she was paddling happily in a stream.
After removing the remains of my truncated shepherd’s crook from the road, I continued on my way, glad that this little drama had ended happily. My fare might have spurned my proffered lift, but she reached her destination alive, making the trek on her own terms. As the remains of less fortunate creatures constantly remind me—I found another snapper further down the road, smashed to pieces by a passing car—even quiet country roads are killing grounds. I can do nothing about that, of course. All life is cheap in the Republic of Happy Motoring. But every now and then I can offer some assistance to a fellow traveler. It’s a good feeling.
- “Become a Turtle Taxi”
- “A Printable Quick Guide for Turtle Taxis”
- “Find a Wildlife Rehabilitator”
- “New York Center for Turtle Rehabilitation and Conservation, Inc.”
- “Turtle Portrait Gallery’”
Questions? Comments? Just click here!