I will spare you the suspense: all my limbs are intact.

So this morning there I am, choogling along to work in my CRV, dressed in my cute work clothes: a long linen A-line skirt and a button-down linen shirt with a pink tank top under it. Also, I was wearing adorable shoes. I got down to the little lake and saw what might have been road kill in the middle of my lane, slowed down a little, got closer, and realized it was a snapping turtle.

A freakin snapping turtle, of fairly consequential size. I would estimate its shell at about a foot long, which means that by the time you get done adding in tail and FEARSOME SNAPPING HEAD, it was probably two feet total. Did I mention it was sitting in the middle of my lane? I couldn’t just leave it there, so I got out of the car, grabbing a sweater, and after carefully looking and listening for cars (it was 0535 so there weren’t any) I stepped in front of the turtle and flapped my sweater at it, hoping to herd the sucker safely to the side of the road.

Nope. It stuck out its neck and FEARSOME SNAPPING HEAD and was all “HISSS! I EAT YOUR TOES.” Um. Not the desired reaction. I stomped at it. “I EAT YOUR TOES CRAZY WOMAN.” Sigh.

So I ran around behind the snapping turtle and grabbed it by the tail and lifted it til its front toes barely touched the ground and started dragging it fairly rapidly toward the side of the road. This is not a nice way to move a turtle, incidentally, but I like having ten fingers and ten toes. Except snapping turtles are heavy, and as I got it to the shoulder of the road (I could hear a car coming by now) my arm sagged and it got at least three legs on the ground.

Did you know snapping turtles are WICKED FREAKY FAST about spinning 180 degrees even if you have ahold of the tail? I did not until today. Ahem. I shrieked and jumped backwards, luckily still holding onto the fearsome snapping beast’s tail, which jerked it back around so it was no longer facing me but was now unfortunately between me and the car. Whoops. Tactical error.

Luckily the one car had gone by and I couldn’t hear or see any others, so I darted around the turtle into the road while the turtle made various terrorist threats behind me.

But coming home from work, there was no dead snapping turtle in the road, so I feel safe declaring this one a chelonian wiktory, even if it was a lot more adrenaline than I needed at that hour.

Tags: ,

Comments (3) | Wildlife — Tags: , — Andrea @ 1712 on 14 June, 2010

3 Responses to “I will spare you the suspense: all my limbs are intact.”

  1. laura
    1122 on June 15th, 2010

    maybe you should keep a broom in your car to shoo them across with?

  2. Andrea
    1722 on June 15th, 2010

    I tried shooing! I suspect that snapping turtles cannot be shooed, but go immediately on the offense and would attack my broom.

    The whole encounter just makes me love box turtles even more, pacifists that they are!

  3. Datista
    2256 on June 15th, 2010

    We have the snappers here. Shooing works if it’s a female and she’s got a nest- they’ll usually shoot away from the nest site and head for cover… otherwise it’s picking them up. For reference, grabbing behind the head and above the tail is safest. Grabbing along the sides leaves you open to scratching, and tail grabs… well, sounds like you found out why tail grabs aren’t always the best option. For smaller snappers, shovels make dandy ways to get them up and off the road, and for their larger cousins shovels work well as blocks/scoots for heading them in less road-pancaking directions.

    Also? Beware the poop on tail grabs/pickups. It’s projectile and it’s hideously vile.

Leave a Reply