This is a true story:
The Spring before last I received a call for help from my sister one evening.
“There’s a huge turtle in my backyard. I don’t know what kind it is and I don’t know what to do with it. I’m afraid to let the dog out because it might bite him.”
“Does it have a really large head and long neck?”
“Does it have a leathery shell with a jagged back-end?”
“Don’t touch it. It’s a snapping turtle. I’ll be right over.”
Five minutes later, I was at Donna’s house. A rather large female Snapping Turtle was wedged up next to the foundation. Beyond Donna’s house was a very busy street. Twenty yards and “Mama Turtle” would be soup.
My ego was swollen at this point. Our family’s “creative one” was also an aspiring naturalist.
“She’s looking for a place to lay her eggs. We’ve got to get her over your back bank and down toward the river.”
After awhile we had directed her back to the woods. The only daring moment came when I needed to initially pull her away from the foundation by the tail. Don’t try this at home kids!
Snapping turtles can lunge the whole length of their body, including their tail. They are surprisingly quick! That mama turtle was remarkably even-tempered for her kind. I still handled her with great respect. Those years, I spent catching them at our camp at the lake, had given me experience.
It was a fun rescue but I’m not sure if it was my sister, her dog or the turtle who was rescued.
A few weeks later, I witnessed a local animal control officer dancing around a snapping turtle beside the road. I rolled down my window as I inched along and shouted,”Grab her by the tail!”
He answered, with a disgusted look on his face,never taking his eyes off of the hissing reptile, “I’M TRYING!”