Wednesday, June 11, 2008
It's a Big Snap
We’re back to normal today, and I’m so grateful that all of us, two and four-legged family members, made it through the heatwave without getting sick. In the middle of the worst of it, yesterday morning, I had a crazy adventure.
After I wrote my post, I went out to the barn to feed the horses. Glancing over at the pasture, I saw this large black bowl turned upside down in the grass. It was bigger than a dinner plate. I did a double-take. It was a huge turtle.
My plan had been to turn the horses out right away and muck before the heat got too oppressive. Now, I had to deal with this invader. When I approached the turtle, I could see it was a big old snapper. It’s neck and head were as thick as a soda can. I got a snow shovel and the wheelbarrow. I tried to dig under it and lift it. Like lightning, the turtle’s head flew back and grabbed the shovel almost pulling it out of my hands. I backed off really fast. This was not a job for one person.
My husband wasn’t home, but I saw my neighbor across the street getting ready to go to work. I ran over to him and asked for some help. “I’ve been waiting for her.” He told me, “That turtle comes to my yard every year just before Father’s Day. I’ve been warning the kids to watch out for her.”
He showed me that the turtle had laid her eggs in our pasture not far from where I left the wheelbarrow. We tried to flip her over on her back, but she kept righting herself. Finally, using two snow shovels, we managed to lift her and balance her on one of them. My neighbor walked as fast as he could holding the shovel with the snapping turtle straight out at arms’ length. He almost got to the back fence when she fell off onto the compost pile. He wasn't going to try to lift her up again.
I thanked him and ran into the house to grab my camera. I was worried that the turtle would just make her way back to the pasture. When I got back to the compost, she was gone. I guess she headed back to the pond in the woods behind our house. Once she laid the eggs, her job was done, and she could relax until next year.
I’m so glad that I noticed the snapper before I put the girls out. I can just imagine Siete sticking her curious nose right into that turtle’s face. She could have really gotten hurt. I’m still on the look-out for more turtles since my friends keep telling me about finding them in their gardens or in the middle of the road, stopping traffic. If you happen to run into any snapping turtles, take my advice, don’t try to pick them up with your hands. You can borrow my snow shovel.