Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Critter Wednesday

If turtle has shown up, you may need to ask yourself some questions. Are you not seeing what you should? Are you not hearing what you should? Are you or those around you not using discrimination?

Walking down the path from my home to my car on my way to work this morning, amid the leaves and sticks and recently-dropped berries, a tiny prehistoric shape caught my eye. It wasn't moving, just sitting there on the pavement. It's funny how vividly living things can jump out from general detritus.

I knelt down to take a look and found a perfectly miniaturized version of the giant turtle who had visited me two summers ago.

The details on a turtle are amazing. Although this one is clearly brand new, they always look a million years old. I was worried, at first, because the creek behind my house is a couple hundred feet away -- what was this tiny fella doing all the way on the other side of the house? But, recognizing that he and his fellows had survived millennia without me to carry them down to the creek, I resisted that impulse that all children have when they find a baby bird, and left him to his own. Well, almost. I had to get a good picture of him first.

He had hopped up into the grass and was rather quickly making his way north (the creek is east). I pulled him out just for a second, and was surprised to find his shell slightly soft (not to mention quite dirt-caked). The tiny feet and claws swam through the air, but never withdrew into the shell. His beak already looked sharp and powerful, but he never opened it. I took a couple of quick close-ups -- couldn't resist the tail, medieval-weapon that it is -- and put him back where I found him, where he quickly made good his escape.

Most people would probably like to think of a tiger or a stallion or even a kitten as their totem, but I swear if I had a Patronus, it would probably wind up being a giant snapper.


  1. it's so cute...oh my goodness.

    my patronus is a mole.

  2. I wouldn't pick up even a baby snapping turtle on a bet. I learned my lesson on that years ago. When those guys clamp down, it can really hurt.

    For what it's worth, I think the soft shell means that he hatched fairly recently. I've never seen one that small, so that may be what they look like at < 1 year old...

  3. Yeah, you'll notice I'm keeping my fingers well clear. I'm pretty sure the instinct decision tree goes option 1: escape, option 2: CHOMP.

    Probably a brand new fresh one, yeah. I wonder from WHERE, though, and what he was doing all the way in my front yard. But who knows; it's riddle with all sorts of holes and underground byways.

  4. Anonymous05:36

    He's a cutie. I think my patronis would be a panda bear.


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