Friday, April 25, 2008

Turtle, Turtle

I would never have imagined that turtles would be a significant part of my adult life. As a child growing up, turtles were something that I read about in books, I can't say that I ever saw one in person except maybe at a nature center or zoo. To me turtles were a real good kind of chocolate candy that has caramel and pecans.

But now, ever since we've lived in this house, turtles have been a recurring subject. The first time we saw the giant snappers that lurk underneath the dock, it was very dramatic. They would slowly peek their prehistoric looking heads out, and then lunge to snap up whatever piece of food or weakened fish we threw into the water. No more dipping our toes into the water after that. Sometimes in the spring, the snappers will wander around in the streets of the subdivision. I have been known to get off of my bike and direct traffic so that a big old guy can make it across safely. Here is picture of a snapper that was on our lawn, it has interesting feet:

We get different kinds of turtles here. The painted kind are nicer looking, and we like to spot their heads popping up out of the surface of the lake as they swim around. One of the funniest things that ever happened was one time when we were pulling away from our house in the car, and saw a turtle in the street, and Jeffrey got out to pick it up. It started to pee an he just ran down the street with a peeing turtle for several houses. We put some in our backyard pond and thought they were just darling in there until they started eating the frogs right before our eyes. When I told Kendrea some of these stories she told me to keep my eye out for a box turtle, they would like to have one for a pet. A request! Sure enough I eventually found a box turtle walking across my driveway, and I brought it over to her house. Too big, she said, and we set it in the bushes by her door. Her boys looked sad. The next day it was back in my yard.

Not long after that I was on a bike ride and kept coming across tiny little snapping turtles on the paths. I had the good idea that I would like to bring these to Kendrea's boys, but needed a way to carry them. I took off one of my socks and put the turtles in there like a bag. I rode straight to Kendrea's door and presented the prized creatures to her children, and then went home. It turned out that the turtles instigated an unfortunate incident involving the garden hose and lots of fighting and crying, and Kendrea asking me to please not bring any more turtles over.

Then one day we were heading out and noticed a painted turtle digging a hole in our front landscaping. We watched as it dug and dug, dropped a pile of eggs in there, covered it up, and waddled away. Here is a picture of it digging:

That was last spring and whenever Kendrea's boys were around we would look at that spot and talk about how someday little turtles would come crawling out. Nothing happened all summer but then last week we started finding little baby painted turtles in the landscaping and even one in the garage. They were very cute but this time I did not bring any over to Kendrea's house:

So now turtles are just everywhere in my life, especially in the spring. There is even a turtle I find in all different places on the inside of the house:


kid_curry said...

Ahhh, I had forgotten the dreaded "Turtle Day" incident. Not the best day in the Shenfeld Saga. Now rats fill our pet wanting needs. Although I love turtles, Joe was totally against my turtle garden idea. Waaah! But rats were more acceptable?

Anonymous said...

Hi, Mindy- With all that wildlife habitat and little boys in your life, I am surprised that you never did a blog on fear of what you might find in clothing pockets when you do laundry. I know someone who was so nervous about finding bugs ( frog and turtle food, you know)and worms and reptiles that she bought some long handled item used for lifting canning jars to inspect pockets. Also-everyone avoided snapping turtles at our cottage because the big ones could hurt someone. And I remember when pet shops stopped selling little pet turtles because of samonella poisoning. Yow.
Aunt Chris