Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Turtla (or, possibly, Turtle)
Today, after dropping off my daughter at camp, I was driving back along Route 1 here in Dedham. I noticed something on the side of the road. It was this guy (possibly girl; a female would be more likely at this time of year, but this turtle's plastron seems pretty concave to me, so I was thinking "turtla" rather than "turtle").
I was afraid that he was going to wander into traffic and get killed--and possibly hurt someone in the process, since he weighs at least 15 pounds and is about 30 inches long--so I pulled over and picked him up, thinking to take him back to the marshy woods behind TGI Fridays. But as I began to carry him through the parking lot, I noticed some workers looking at me funny as I brought the turtle closer and closer to where they were working. I rapidly came to the conclusion that they might not appreciate my letting a 15-pound snapping turtle loose near where they were working.
So I took the turtle back to my car and put it in my trunk, saying to him "You're a lucky turtle, buddy. I'm from New Jersey. Usually when we put somebody in a car trunk, they don't come back out."
I'm waiting until it gets dark tonight, and then I will release him safely.
This has been quite the year of the turtle. Last summer I rescued an endangered gopher tortoise from the road in Florida, and in June my daughter worked on a Diamondback Terrapin conservation project with my colleague Prof. Barbara Brennessel (you may know her as the co-author of the paper testing medieval medicine in Anglo-Saxon England).
At least none of these turtles peed all over me the way that the turtle I took out of the road on Cape Cod a few years back did. Who says nothing ever improves?