Thursday, June 12, 2014
The above photo caught my attention. I love turtles. My kids had them when they were little and so did my brothers. They are fascinating creatures. This gang is enjoying timeout, basking in the sun.
Which brings me to my adventure yesterday. You can see how tiny this wee thing is. Not a lump of dirt on a road... but don't run those lumps over please - they could be baby turtles. Most hatch from their eggs and head for water! That could be across the highway.
Yesterday tired and driving home on one of our county roads, I passed a huge lump of black on the side of the road. Quick scan in my brain and I realized it was likely a turtle. I quickly found a driveway and turned around, put on my flashers when I saw this large lump across the road and looked for something solid to help me. I only had an umbrella with a plastic end on its handle. Not much but when in need....
I tried to get the large snapper - a female obviously searching for just the right place to dig a hole and drop her eggs - to grab onto the end of the umbrella and let me drag her to safety behind her in the swamp. She bit a large piece of plastic off the end. I spent the next few minutes aggravating her so she would open her mouth and let me fish out the sliver of plastic stuck on the bottom of her mouth - tongue? don't know enough about snappers to know if they have tongues, and frankly didn't care, just wanted it to be okay. There was a soft net type of thing on the end of the umbrella's handle to put over my wrist. I dragged it carefully and repeatedly over the piece of plastic in the bottom of her mouth.
Whether the turtle knew I was trying to help or not I have no idea, but it didn't hiss, just obligingly opened its mouth. I was pleased when I got the sharp piece out, then tried to nudge this old gal... she must have been at least a foot and a half long... into the grass on the verge.
I looked up as I sensed someone coming. A very kind fellow who had been alerted by a nearby neighbour walked up to me grinning. "Got a turtle?"
I replied "I need help to get it off the road,I can't lift it."
He showed me the right place to grab these creatures if I was alone, then went back around the corner to his home and got a shovel and a metal basket...returned with his truck to gently put the turtle into the crate and promised he would put it into the pond with a gravelly/sandy beach on his property. I told him that snapping turtles are on the Endangered Species list in Ontario as being of Special Concern. He was going to call the Conservation Authority and told me some other stories of his adventures with turtles... All good and all interesting.
So thanks to contractor Dwight Beer, one turtle has probably laid her eggs by now and is living happily in his pond.
Please be careful at this time of year and keep an eye open for turtles on the road, big and small the roads and the turtles. June seems to be the time for mating and reproducing.