A random look at the life and times of Jim Rising recovering radio addict and newspaper columnist.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Are you a Turtle?

The car flashed it’s brights at me as we passed in the early morning hours. In most cases this means there is a policeman waiting to see if you are speeding but on dark country roads in pre-dawn hours it also means there is a deer or three waiting to make the body shop happy. I was on my way to the gym. Even though my shape most closely resembles an egg I do spend a lot of time huffing and puffing and sweating to keep myself from becoming as large as the Hindenburg dirigible. Mixed results there but I get an “A” for effort. I rounded a corner and saw what the other car was alerting me to.
Let me stop here and say I will brake for almost any animal in the road. I have turned my car nearly sideways trying to avoid a chipmunk and I don’t even want to tell you how many times I have locked up my brakes trying not to hit Bambi and his extended family. So when I saw something in the road I swerved and stopped a few feet ahead of it. I put the four way’s on and hopped out to get a closer look. As I thought it was a platter sized turtle halfway across the road. I have dealt with this sort of thing before. Usually you can pick them up near the back of the shell and deposit them close to water and all is well. So I grabbed him and began to walk to the side of the road. The Huntsville reservoir was in view, in the opposite direction from his travels. Mr. Turtle was having none of it and damn if he didn’t almost get my fingers in his jaws. Later I read with some interest that a large adult snapper can easily bite off a finger or toe and some snappers can -- and will -- stretch their necks halfway back across their own shell to bite. He moved so quickly and forcefully that I had trouble hanging on to him. I returned him gently to the road. Back at the car I found a long wooden handled ice scraper and used this to urge him back towards the water. He turned and hissed and chomped on the scraper. And would NOT let go. I looked at this refuge from Jurasic Park. He held on to my scraper. So I pulled him and the scraper as far as could off the road and pointed him towards the H20. When I made the return trip 90 minutes later I didn’t see him or my scraper so he proably made it. Or then again I could be wrong.

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