Friday, May 29, 2009

At Least The Turtle Doesn't Hate Me. Probably.

Work went about how I thought it would, but I made it through to the end of the day. Sadly, it was too late to run by the studio but I had another plan. I was going to go to our pathetic little mall and stock up on the "historical" scents currently at Bath & Body Works, hit the Waldenbooks and then maybe order a pizza or something. High times, I know.

As I zipped down the highway, I noticed a lump in the middle of my lane. Then I realized that the lump was a turtle - half a lane into attempting to cross 4 lanes of traffic - at rush hour. *sigh* I'm not capable of leaving turtles in danger like that. I was probably close to 15 yards down the road before I managed to safely get parked on the side of the highway. I trotted back toward the bump, who was a very huddled bump as cars went whizzing over his head. (He may have been reconsidering his foolproof moving scheme.) As I got closer, I recognized the shape of the bump. Drat. Snapping turtle. And me without my handy broomstick. (At one point, I found snappers crossing the street darn near every time I left the freakin' house, so I took to carrying a nice strong length of broomstick to assist in getting the turtles to the side of the road - both of us unhurt.) I'm told that other people find non-bitey creatures to rescue. I wonder what that's like?

So I got even with the turtle, tramped down into the ditch to find a stick, came back to the side of the road, waited for a likely break in traffic and zipped out into the middle of the highway to rescue the turtle, who promptly snapped my stick in half.

Damn! Need bigger stick. So, back to ditch for better stick, back to road, wait for traffic, zip out again and herd the turtle back to safety. (I have to confess, I helped Mr. Turtle a bit with the side of my foot. We had to HURRY.) Right, so now what? Well, the turtle had some scuffs on his shell and I got to thinking that maybe he had been hit. Clearly, I had to take him to the wildlife lady. She saved the last injured turtle that I found along the road.

This presented me with a slight logistical problem, given that the turtle didn't seem to be entirely friendly so I wasn't interested in just grabbing him. (Snapping turtles can reach practically any location on their shell, so there really isn't a safe place to grab them.) I gave him a firm command to stay, trotted back to the Jeep, dumped a milk crate of junk into the back, and trotted back to the turtle. I'm so glad I was still dressed for work in three inch heels and a long sleeved shirt - 'cause it was 82 degrees with VERY high humidity and I'm running around the highway chasing turtles. Brilliant. The turtle had spent the time coming towards me, along the side of the highway, so I had to overshoot him a bit to retrieve my stick. Since the turtle did not volunteer to hop right into the crate, some gentle persuation was necessary. That's went I realized that the turtle didn't exactly fit into the crate.

So, here's a picture for you - me, in business casual and nice shoes, walking along the side of the highway in the very bumpy grass, holding a milk crate in front of me with one hand and a stick in the other, which I was using to block the turtle's VERY active attempts to clamber out of the crate, which was not hard for him because he was kind of bigger than the crate. Weird how I'm the only one I know who gets into these situations. I finally made it back to the Jeep, jostled the turtle until he was sort of wedged at an angle into the bottom of the crate, then I wedged the crate between the dash and the passenger seat of the Jeep, put the stick within reach - just in case he tried to escape in the Jeep, hopped in and away we went to the wildlife lady.

Just about this time, my friend called to invite me over for dinner and LEGO PS3 games. I told her I had a pitstop to make, which led to her volunteering to come help me corral the turtle. Already done says I - I'm almost at the wildlife care center. So we decided that she'd figure out what her spouse was doing for dinner and call me back.

The wildlife lady was still there, which was fortunate 'cause the turtle would not have fit in the emergency wildlife drop box. She leaned into the Jeep, poked at him, said he was one very lucky turtle and he was fine and then she gave me directions to a park where I could drop him off near the water. *blink* But... um. I got him INTO the crate. Isn't that enough?? Apparently no. So I headed off to the park to drop him and my friend called back with ideas for food. When she learned that I still had the passenger, she asked if I'd bring him to her house. There's a little creek nearby and she wanted to see him.

She met me in her driveway and we each took a side of the crate and walked him to his new home. There a steep slope from the road down to the creek. Once we got him out of the crate and pointed downhill, a gentle shove sent him lumbering on his way.

The closer to the water he got, the faster he went. He was hidden, but we could see the weeds moving in his path. And plop! into the water and he was gone.

When I was eight or so, my father brought home a snapping turtle that was more than three feet in diameter - it couldn't rest flat in one of those large green trash cans, so I thought this guy was kinda small. He was probably 13 or so inches across, and 16 or so inches long, not including tail. Turns out, for this area, he was apparently quite large - my friend said that's the biggest one she's seen around here.

After releasing the turtle, we headed back to her house for stuffed chicken breast and the LEGO Indiana Jones game - which is so so fun. The little clips are HILARIOUS. And, once I got home, I broke out dessert - the first cherries of the year. Yum!

Tomorrow, I'll go play in the mud and then (maybe) to a coworker's daughter's birthday party. Have a great weekend!


threecollie said...

I am impressed with your bravery and dedication in rescuing a snapper that big! They are wonderful turtles, but that bits is scary. We rescue painteds if we can
Anyhow, have a good weekend if you can.

Kritter Keeper said...

omg, that was awesome! my husband always chastises me when i want to help a turtle. "you're going to get run over one of these days!" i did the same thing only the road wasn't as busy as yours...and had no clue how mean snaps are and almost got bit, but i too gave him a shove with the foot after being threatened with strong jaws. we lost all of our baby wood ducks to the snaps this year in our pond so the husband is going to get rid of them...loved your post!!!

Anonymous said...

Loved your post! I'm sure your persistence gave you a satisfied feeling that day.
A book store and pizza sounds good to me. :)

Suldog said...

That's a wonderful story - and you're a wonderful person for helping out a creature who would probably have taken a bit of your finger given the chance. Nice job.

endangered coffee said...

excellent story. I hope the next turtle can fit into the drop box!