Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Time for turtles

She lumbers through the yard.



Her speed is nothing on land.
In fact, were it not for her quick turns to snap as I approach, she’d be an easy mark. Her shell barely covers her muscular legs and long tail. But her relatively long neck aggressively lunges forward—the accuracy of her sharp, powerful jaws, nothing to be tested.



She may well be one of the five I saw in the pond just a few days earlier. Now, dragging her heavy body, full of eggs to the perfect spot to dig a hole and leave them.


I remember, years ago, when this time of year meant softball for my girls—on a neighborhood team that held its games at the township field.
It was game night, and we gathered with all the other parents to watch our home team and cheer them on. A “real” game, with real umpires and… bleachers--
when, in the middle of an inning, the field Ref all of a sudden stood tall, raised his arm and suspended play.

While onlookers puzzled at the pause, he pointed off into right field.


A very large lump was marching determinedly across toward a little girl, absorbed in the game, in center field.
Play resumed when she decided to leave.
The snapping turtle, that is.


It was 2 days earlier. last year, that I also found a large snapper in this spot.
I wonder if she chooses the same path each year.



Thanks to Mrs. Nesbit for hosting ABC Wednesday!

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29 comments:

Rurality said...

Great pics! I particularly like the one with her mouth open. :)

nina said...

She has quite a hook on her jaw, hasn't she!

Lynne said...

I hope you took those pictures of her smiling with a zoom!

MojoMan said...

I wonder how many generations, years, decades turtles seek the same nesting sites. Centuries, maybe? When a road gets built between the water and traditional nesting sites, you can imagine what happens.

ellen b said...

you got some fabulous shots of this turtle. What a fascinating creature.

Petunia said...

Great choice for T!
Love turtles:)

Petunia's ABC

Picturing of Life said...

wow...i never saw turtle photos so close like you. Great post

My T post in here Thanks

leslie said...

Oooh, those eyes! Almost taunting you to try to get her! Very good story to go with your photos. I enjoyed this very much. :)

Hyde DP said...

I'm wondering now what the difference is between a turtle and a tortoise.

My T posts will go live at 6am BST.

nina said...

Good question, Hyde, and it got me looking around to Wikipedia where it says this:
Although the word "turtle" is widely used to describe all members of the order Testudines, it is also common to see certain members described as terrapins, tortoises or sea turtles as well. Precisely how these alternative names are used, if at all, depends on the type of English being used.

British English normally describes these reptiles as turtles if they live in the sea; terrapins if they live in fresh or brackish water; or tortoises if they live on land. However, there are exceptions to this where American or Australian common names are in wide use, as with the Fly River turtle.

American English tends to use the word turtle for all species regardless of habitat, although tortoise may be used as a more precise term for any land-dwelling species. Oceanic species may be more specifically referred to as sea turtles. The name "terrapin" is strictly reserved for the brackish water diamondback terrapin, Malaclemys terrapin.

So, this could be, "Time for Turtles, Tortoises and Terrapins!"
Thanks!

Texas Travelers said...

Great story and perfect photos.
Well done on all the T's.

The Tide has Turned in Texas.
Come visit,
Troy and Martha

Judy said...

I did a turtle too but mine is not that big. Great pictures.

Jennifer said...

Wow... I was miserably behind reading blogs. I just caught up on several of your posts, enjoying each one. In this one, I like the picture with the pink mouth showing.

mon@rch said...

Love these guys! Although I have yet to see my first female laying eggs this year!

Neva said...

watch out for that snap! that would hurt!
ine is up here and here.

Dave Coulter said...

Keep those fingers to yourself! ;)

The Urban Buddha said...

That is a great collection for t-day! Turtles are amazing creatures! Thanks for sharing. :)

reader Wil said...

Very interesting set of pictures. And the explanation you gave from wikipedia too. I always thought that turtles were sea animals and the tortoise a land reptile, because in Australia they make that difference.

scienceguy288 said...

You can't quite see it, but the snappers will have a little worm-like appendage on their tongues to attract prey. Nice photos.

babooshka said...

Quite a photogentic creature. Love the opened mouth shot.

Klaus said...

Great Snapper shots and wonderful "T"!
Cheers, Klaus

imac said...

These are great shots and well captured.

Come and visit my Tree House.

TSannie said...

Great pre-historic-looking "T"!

We also have snappers in our pond. Some big enough to pull under baby ducks, which I don't like at all, but know it that whole circle of life thing.

LOVE your Walt Whitman mast head quote. It becomes more true every day. Nature remains...

Crayons said...

Hi Nina,
I've been away from the Internet for about 2 weeks, so I'm just catching up now with some of my favorite bloggers.

Oy vey. These photos really scare me. I once saw a demonstration of what a snapping turtle is capable of.

I like the story of your softball game being interrupted. Very visual. I also like MoJo Man's vision of eternal paths of migration that are invisible to us.

Old Wom Tigley said...

That face is that ugly it is beautiful, a great post.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Have you ever followed her to see where she goes? Not everyone has a snapping turtle lumbering through their garden.

Eco Enthusiast said...

Great pictures of the snapping turtle. And, I read your notes about the difference between turtles and terrapins. Thanks for a great post. Joan

Dina said...

Wow, this blog is a treasure! So glad I stumbled into it today.
Shalom from Jerusalem.

Max-e said...

Nice post and picturs. It looks like that beak could inflict a nast bite.
Also enjoyed you post on the rate snake.