You know the feeling when you shouldn’t do something, but do it anyway? That happened this week when I came upon a very large, very old snapping turtle in the middle of the road.
“What was that?” I asked my son, Paul, when we first drove past the creature. The turtle stood precisely in the middle of a curvy blind spot. If he moved to the right or left, he could be hit and probably killed. I parked nearby and watched a few cars go by in either direction, almost striking him.
A large, smarter part of my brain said to keep going. It’s not your problem, I told myself.
I couldn’t bear the idea of this poor old man or old lady (Good God, how does one tell?) getting crushed under someone’s tires.
I turned hopefully to Paul. “One of us can go pick the turtle up and put it in the brush.”
Paul shook his head. “No way. I’m not touching that.”
I looked around. No cars were coming in either direction. I got out and trotted over. Along the way, I picked up a little stick and held it to the turtle’s mouth. I wondered if he would snap it in half. Nothing.
Placing my hands under the back of the turtle’s shell, I gave a slight push. Apparently, you can tell a turtle’s age by its size. This turtle’s shell measured about 12 inches, so this guy was probably about 25 years old, almost the age of my youngest.
Mr. Turtle didn’t like this strange human touching him. He lifted his back toward me, making a hissing noise. The good thing was this got him going forward, moving faster than I would’ve given him credit. Just to show whose boss, he gave some serious-looking snaps in the air. I kept my fingers and body far away.
We made a surprisingly good team. With me standing behind him, making noises, Old Man Turtle slowly “loped” his way across the road. Mission accomplished.
A red truck had come along a minute earlier and stopped to watch the action. An old man sat behind the wheel, smiling. “Wow. That’s a snapping turtle. You’re brave.” (I sensed this was code for: “You’re one dizzy dame, but I’ll accept it).”
“He was in the road,” I said. “He would’ve been hit.”
The man thought about this and then winked at me. “God bless you.” He drove off.
I later read that snapping turtles have longer necks than we realize, which can make them dangerous. I could’ve been bitten, I guess, but luckily, I wasn’t.
Plus, the sight of that poor wild creature dead on the road later would’ve left me sad.
Why did this turtle cross the road? To get away from me, of course. And I’m glad he did.
Have you ever ‘rescued’ a wild creature? Comments are always welcome and if you’d like, please share.
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