Is this a turkle?

Finally, I’m writing this post! This is probably more exciting for me than you, but I’m using this thing as a journal (albeit a very vague one) as much as a place to get back to writing. Aaaah, what am I wasting time with this for? On to the turtle!

A few days ago, we had some flooding rain, according to the little alert thing on our phones, anyway. Thankfully, we don’t seem to live in a flood zone so when there are flash floods, although we play it safe, the most we see from our house is torrential downpour that doesn’t lead to much. The grass that lines the roads remains really quite sodden with little pools for a while, but the roads clear up pretty quickly.

I’ve seen this a few times and every time I enjoy watching it because I love storms and the rain, but this time was extra special. If you’ve read my posts, you’ll know I have a tendency to happen across random animals, some of my cats found by a bin, my ferret Seb found walking up my road – I’ve also taken care of baby birds, squirrels, etc. You get it. I’m Snow White but without the singing capability, gentle demeanour and weird floaty walk dancing. Okay, I’m a swamp hag with a bit of luck (bad or good, who knows at this point) for finding animals.

This animal, was one that I saw from our kitchen window. I’m obsessed with the idea of seeing a ferret in need, I mean we’re turning around the car at the sight of a sock just in case kind of obsessed. Only, whatever this was on the edge of our neighbour’s garden, was moving incredibly slowly. It didn’t take long until I was shouting at my husband that there was a turtle in the garden.

My husband, being the braver of us both, got on his shoes and I headed for the cat carriers. You see, in England, if there’s a turtle on the roam it’s usually one that’s broken free from its enclosure, and, given the storm we’d just had that was our first thought. It wasn’t until my husband was returning to take the carrier from me that he laughed and said, “It’s a god damn dragon!” I then watched as he incredibly carefully ushered the turtle into the carrier. And yes, it did snap at him, and hiss.

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By the time we knew it was a snapping turtle, of course the idea of leaving it be crossed my mind, but there were two things that prompted us to try and help it instead. One, I have no idea if it could have been my neighbours pet snapping turtle – supposedly that’s a thing, and two, it was being circled by some very, very large ravens with no where to go but a garden fence.

Once in the carrier, we placed it outside on the porch and I called the humane society for advice. I was a bit worried about sounding ridiculous “Hello, the most dangerous thing where I’m from is a cow and I have no idea what this tiny thing is so uh, what do I do with it?” but the lady was actually really helpful. She advised us it would be looking for water and so to take it nearby an area it could find some, but yes, after I asked, do check with the neighbour just in case he knows anything about it.

At this point, if you know me, you’ll know I don’t cope magically well with speaking to people. It makes me hands all sweaty and I talk at lightning speed. But, even though my husband was convinced (and right) that this was not a pet turtle, I didn’t like the idea of setting free someone’s pet into the wilderness. And so, off we went to the neighbour behind our house to both introduce ourselves for the first time and ask “Do you like turkles?” Okay, not quite that last part.

Thankfully, just like most people around here seem to be, the neighbour was super friendly. He told us that in thirteen years of living there he’d only seen three or four turtles, so it wasn’t a common sight, that it wasn’t his but thanks for getting it out of his garden because he was about to let his dog out, and pointed us in the direction of where to take the turtle. Relieved that we weren’t committing an act of turtle-napping, we returned home and started our adventure to find Bowser, as he was now called, greener, or uh wetter, pastures.

We had been informed that two ponds were down a dirt road from our house and so turtle in carrier we began our search. We did pass a kind man on a golf cart (everyone around here seems to drive around in them) who offered us a ride after seeing us carrying “that thing”. I can only imagine what he thought, bottle in hand, of the gnarly looking face peering out of the carrier.

“Oh this? It’s out pet kitten. Say hello, Mittens!”

“HIIISSSSSSSS.”

Okay, that’s being unfair. He only hissed once. The rest of the time he was a lovely little snapping turtle! Oh, I think I missed that bit. Bowser is a snapping turtle.

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It took us a little while but we soon found the ponds (we hope) and began trying to convince Bowser that he wanted to leave the carrier. He didn’t. It took a little bit of a wriggle and a tip though, and after Bowser clung on for dear life for a few seconds, soon with a plop he was on the floor checking out his surroundings. Oddly, he wouldn’t move until my husband started faux-dramatically saying to him, “Get outta here! I don’t love you no more! Go on, get!” He then of course felt bad and so told him he was only joking, only to have to say it all again once Bowser stopped for another extended staring session.

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This is where I got a few pictures and filmed Bowser on his way to the water. I didn’t get a video of Bowser entering the water, which I deeply regret, but this was because he seemed unnerved by me so I had stepped out of the way. It was amazing watching as he sniffed the air though and sought out the water, and watching him swim once he was in!

So, that is the story of Bowser the snapping turtle.

We went back to the ponds the next day to make sure that we couldn’t see any sign of a turtle in distress, or I don’t know, starting a cult, and we couldn’t see anything. The title of this blog is because, while there, I got really quite anxious that we’d miss him and started to doubt my own judgement of what was or wasn’t a turtle, or turkle, as we said to lighten the mood. So, no, the rock wasn’t a turkle, neither was the leaf, nor the tire, nor the tree trunk. No turkles could be seen.

All that being said, it is going to get warmer soon so we’ll head back just to be sure all is safe. Annoyingly, after leaving Bowser there we drove past the same bridge we always do and saw a creek that would have been so much better for him, so if we do see him again, or any lone turtles looking lost, we’ll point them in that direction. The ponds we took him to though were in the direction he was walking in, and he was stopping to routinely sniff the air the same as he does in the video, so I wonder if that is where he was returning to or seeking anyway.

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Well, there we go. That’s our adventure with a snapping turtle! I felt really privileged to see the him and hope that he has a wonderful and happy life.

I hope you enjoyed the story and the pictures!

Arbie X

 

NOTE: I have no idea if Bowser is a male or female turtle because I don’t know anything about turtles. I’m calling Bowser a he because Bowser is a guy, so yeah. Hiiiiissssssss.

7 thoughts on “Is this a turkle?”

  1. A truly lovely story/article to read Arbie….. a heroine of the animal world…. your warmed my heart tonight, and I shall tight tonight…I’ve a song for you about “Bowser”, not a turtle, but a wonderfully warm and compassionate ballad by ‘David Francey’… listen closely and enjoy….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aaah this video got all the emotions going! I was laughing at the beginning and then holding back tears at the end. Thank you for sharing this, truly wonderful video and song!

      Like

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