While out driving the back roads this week I came across this Midland Painted Turtle sitting calmly in the middle of the gravel track. Stopping to say hello, I carried this guy (I looked – it’s harder to identify the gender of a turtle than you might think) to the edge he was facing.
I wouldn’t usually touch a turtle, or any other animal. He was happily sunning and minding his own business and I respect that, but there was a dust cloud coming my way that turned into a boy racer a couple of minutes later – foot to the floor all the way. It was clear to see the driver wouldn’t slow for anything smaller than a buffalo even if he saw this little guy. So I moved him gently out of harm’s way.
I stayed parked, blocking, while the racer went around us both. I waved a cheery hand gesture toward the fast moving vehicle as it disappeared, hidden by it’s own trailing dust cloud, then stayed just long enough to get a few photos for the memory bank.
I was quick, and used a long lens so as not to scare the critter further by getting close again. My last sight was this magnificent creature slipping beneath the surface of the water of the pond he had been heading toward.
I’m sure for this critter, being carried even a few steps was the most frightening thing ever. He’s probably going to drink free at the bar tonight when he tells his friends. Of course, they won’t believe him. In time, he’ll be THAT guy, the weirdo that says he got abducted by aliens… I’m not anthropomorphizing, just analogizing. In human terms the experience would be inexplicable. If he thought of it at all, he probably thought he had escaped from something that wanted to eat him.
In reality, he probably went right back to doing whatever turtles do, and won’t give it another slow-moving amphibious thought. And he’ll never want, nor be able, to tell other turtles about his adventure.
But I will.
Click the image to go to the photo site and see this and the other photos in crisp full detail. Enjoy.