I’ve written occasionally about the fact that my suburban neighborhood, like many others, has become a haven for wildlife–an occasional eagle, ubiquitous hawks and owls, wild turkeys, deer, foxes, opossum, coyotes–which have caused some of our neighbors to keep their small-animal pets indoors–and others. Of all our local fauna, the only one that scares me is the snapping turtle. We live on a pond, and every spring, big snapping turtles make their way a surprising distance from the pond to lay their eggs, and then return. We try to stay out of their way. This beauty, photographed on my driveway, was over a foot and a half long from her nose to her tail:
Snapping turtles are built like tanks and operate on similar principles. They never go around if they can go through. This one smashed the fence to our garden rather than walk around it; she was deflected here by our garage, which she couldn’t climb over and grudgingly went around. Moments later she came to a three-foot dropoff, and just kept walking. She got her bearings and plodded over the top of a sapling, crushing it beneath her, en route to the pond. Every living thing in her path scattered. Snapping turtles aren’t very fast, but they don’t need to be; no animal of any size or description wants to go near them. Every now and then, we’ll see a mother duck swimming on the pond, followed by a line of six or eight ducklings, and the last one in line will suddenly disappear into the water, without leaving a trace: another well-fed snapper.
They’re detestable creatures, certainly, but it’s hard not to have a sneaking admiration for them. Just for a day, I’d like to have one as Senate Majority Leader.
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