May 7, 2008
This is an important post. It occured to me the other day, on the way home from a funeral with my brother, and has been nagging me ever since. Is the world at large aware of the "Proper Procedure" for handling a "Turtle in the middle of the road scenario"?!? My mother taught us this at an early age. It's a crucial thing to know and understand and act upon. I have always assumed that everyone (and I'm referring to everyone in the whole world) knew this and did this. My husband does it. He once did it with a 100 pound loggerhead. I was reminded the other day that my brother does it. He does it with panache and style. (see pictures) I am raising my children to do it. What the hell am I talking about it?
I'm talking about what you are MANDATED by God to do when you come across a turtle ambling down a busy thoroughfare...what your course of action should be when the yellow bellied slider sets out to cross the proverbial road. Is there a box turtle admiring centerline yellow on I-285? Do you know your role? Do you?
Well, it's easy. You slam on the breaks, pull over, back it on up, leap out of your vehicle, make a scene big enough to shock and alarm any other fast moving traffic into an abrupt halt and then go about the task at hand. Lift the turtle gingerly, but firmly, with your hands positioned in the center of the shell away from flailing claws and craning necks. You get that turtle to where he needs to be.
I'll go into a bit more detail here, as you might not be as 'turtle intuitive' as I am. Where does he/she need to be? He/she needs to be OUT OF THE ROAD. It's not hard, folks. Most turtles, when they set out on a walk, are looking for water. They can 'smell' water and are headed in that direction. If you see a pond, put the turtle near it. If you see nothing but trouble, say the I-285 scenario, then do what my mom did in 1970 something...put him in the backseat floorboard of your snazzy dark green Maverick with your three small children. He'll get lodged under the the driver's seat where he retreated in terror and you'll forget about him for a few days. Thankfully, it's not July, so he lives to tell, and your children will, forever hereafter, in newness of life (that's episcopalian, for those who aren't gettin' it) have a place in their heart for the plight of the turtle.
I will add here that if you are dealing with a gi-normous turtle with snapping jaws your modus will change. Use a stick, poke and prod it, enlist others to stop traffic, use your car as a roadblock, whatever, get it across somehow...but don't pick it up. The bite is gangreenous...just made that up, but I like it and you are getting the picture.
So go forth with this new knowledge. Be careful, watch out for oncoming vehicles and save those turtles.