Yes Emily

Yes Emily, girls can ride motorcycles!

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Tale of the Turtle

Stranger things have happened this week, but not many, well, okay, actually none. I happened to be outside and noticed a rather large turtle attempting to cross the busy road near my house. This, being the first ‘cottage’ weekend, has made my road nuts with traffic – people zooming to and from the lake. Now I know turtles have incredibly hard, protective shells and this was a seriously large turtle (big enough to dismount a rider) but I assumed the chance of it surviving, if run over by a two plus ton vehicle, would be slim. Being a good Samaritan I decided to suggest, with my shovel, that it should get off the road - sooner than later.

The most prevalent turtle species in this area is the Snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) and she (I’m assuming) was a big one, close to 12 inches long (not including tail) and just as many pounds (at least). Judging by her size I'd say she was an old gal and should have had a little more common sense than to play in traffic. She didn’t take my suggestion well and made it clear she didn’t want my help by ferociously trying to snap the end off my shovel - better my shovel than my hand. Turtles are known for their slowness, but believe me, when she decided to snap, she did it with lightening speed. Clearly, she hadn't heard that the Ontario government considers her part of a special concern species under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act  and sitting on the road was a bad idea. Having had enough of her attitude, I reluctantly gave up hoping that she would choose, on her own, to drag herself off the road and into the safety of the ditch (which, when I looked back over my shoulder, she appeared to be doing.) Even though I’m not a turtle expert I expect she was looking for a suitable spot to deposit her eggs, but she had to be close to 1km from the nearest lake (pond or swamp). Okay, there’s looking for the perfect spot then there’s being obsessive about it – really!

Ms. Attitude taking up residence under
bistro table on the porch.

You might think that this was the end of the story, I did – that was until I went to step out the front door about an hour later and there was miss personality, on my porch, glaring up at me from the door mat. Now, if I was the type I’d almost say she had taken it personally and had come to get me, maybe she was just there to ask directions - whichever. Since the shovel idea worked so well for me the first time I called for reinforcements to deal with the 'killer' turtle. Number 1 son was clear that the turtle had no beef with him. She was my problem and perhaps I should just sleep with one eye open from now on (I'll remember that in my will). Number two son , Mr. Naturalist, eager to see the ornery old dame (the turtle, not his mom) came to my rescue. After taking a number of photos of the lady with attitude he managed to convince her to take a shovel ride to a more turtle friendly spot away from the house.

Just goes to show that even an independent woman might need help when it comes to clogged dryer vents, skunks, coyotes and ill tempered turtles. My question is, how the hell did she get up on my porch and WILL SHE BE BACK? (Maybe I will have to sleep with one eye open after all!)

Ms Attitude taking a shovel ride.


  1. Where I live there are lakes and wetlands everywhere, so lots of turtles. Once I stopped to "help" a large one off the road, picked it up and lugged it toward the wetlands. I felt it thrashing, but kept my eyes on the edge of the road. A good Samaritan stopped to warn me that it was a snapper and I was in danger. That's when I looked down and saw that the thrashing was in fact the turtle lunging to bite my hand (and they don't let go!). At that point I yelped and threw it toward the swamp. So much for my good deed.

  2. They just can't seem to accept help - can they. Did you know (I didn't, until somebody told me this morning), yesterday was national turtle day - how bizarre is that?