Monday, June 6, 2016

Quite A Weird Turtle

...I don't tend to tell a lot of personal stories on here because my life is either boring, needs more context, or is private, but I might as well tell this one.

So last Saturday I was driving to visit my parents' house (a regular weekly thing) and was on a particular road that I've driven on several hundred times.

Said stretch of road is elevated because the surrounding area is a bit marshy here and there, including at least one rather nasty trench that's almost always filled with water. It was around such a trench that I spotted an animal crossing the road.

Now, I've hit a few little animals over the years, and pretty gently bumped a deer once, but other than that nudge with the deer I've never hit anything bigger than a squirrel with a car. I did run over a turtle and a couple of rabbits on a mowing tractor back when I worked at a local factory, but generally that happened in low-visibility conditions and couldn't really be helped.

So I wasn't planning on hitting whatever this big weird lump that was ambling across the road was, and slowed down a fair bit to let it pass.

And I realized two important things all at once: 1) it was the biggest turtle I'd ever seen in the wild, probably a snapping turtle, and 2) it had just stopped right in my path.

Turtles are some of my favorite animals, and I've no interest in hurting them even when they're being annoying, so I hit the brakes. Fortunately I'd already slowed down enough that this wasn't a problem for either me or the three or four cars immediately behind me (which is a lot for the area in question, believe me).

Now, this road is kind of annoying to drive on, because it's a long straightaway with a lowish speed limit and no passing zone for a couple of miles.

So in general, I'd have been a bit stuck even if there hadn't been traffic on the other side of the road, and there was quite a bit of traffic on the other side of the road.

I'm sitting there trying to figure out how to get this enormous bastard snapping turtle to get out of the way without causing even more problems when this guy comes across the road and just starts trying to encourage the turtle to move by poking it from behind and such. (Thank you, sir, I truly appreciate it.)

Its response was to start hopping in place*.

At that point I'll admit I was thinking, "Okay, you big effing turtle, are you just trying to ruin my evening?"

...Fortunately traffic had thinned out (except behind me, where there were probably even more cars than when I started), and I had the opportunity to weave around the turtle and the guy at this point, and did.

I don't know what happened to the turtle, but I presume he got off the road safely from the fact that there weren't any enormous blood smears on the road when I went the opposite way a few hours later.

*Turtles are associated with slowness, of course, but this is less accurate than a lot of anecdotes would have you believe. I've seen turtles sprint at a pretty goodly pace when they felt motivated. (Tortoises, on the other hand, are slow as hell.) I will admit I'd never realized a turtle could pull a sort of toad jump, though.

-Signing off.

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