A Tale of Two Turtles on World Turtle Day

Today is World Turtle Day, so I think it’s fitting that we were able to save a box turtle yesterday.

Dale called me yesterday morning and said, “I have a box turtle in a box.”

Ok, I’ll bite. “Why would you have a box turtle in a box?”

“He was in our bathroom, and I’m going to bring him home and let him go.”

“In your bathroom at work? That’s weird,” I said.

“Better than the skunk they found in there a few years ago,” he replied.

It was a fine idea to bring the turtle here, considering that there are busy roads all around his job and not only that, he works with some really immature and evidently cruel people.

Some of the other men at his work tossed a huge snapping turtle around a couple of years ago until it died.

When I told a friend about this, she said, “Grown men?” Yes. Sadly.

We’ve been seeing a lot of them in the road this month. It happens every year. We figure it must be mating season or something. People even run over them here on purpose, Dale says, to see if they can hit them right so they will fly off the side of the road.

Disgusting. We won’t even hit venomous snakes in the road if they’re not near any homes.

We’ve always loved turtles; we stopped on a busy highway once to get one of those huge snappers out of the middle of the road. Dale used a shirt to drag him off to the side as he earned his “snapper” name honestly.

I have two empty shells we’ve found over the years on our land.

When Dale got home with “Boxcar Willie” last night, he put him on the covered porch of The Belle Writer’s Studio where I was wrapping up my day.

Sade was wary of the turtle at first and completely left the ground, jumping straight up the first time it moved. We guess she thought it might be a snake. She finally got close enough to sniff, but then sat back while we tried to wait for him to stick his head out.

Dale wanted me to see his head, as he had beautiful red and yellow markings. We sat him in the grass, and I waited an hour but could never get close enough to snap a photo.

The last we saw of Willie, he was cruising down the mountain toward the lake, certainly not completely safe from natural predators in the wild, but he lived at least another day safe from the human ones.

This morning, while walking the dogs along our road, I saw them stop and sniff something up ahead.

I was saddened to discover that it was the remains of a small turtle that had been hit probably last night or early this morning.

I doubt that someone purposely hit it; it’s really hard to tell turtles from rocks in the road, especially small ones in the dark.

Such is the circle of life in nature, some make it and some don’t. It’s a circle we’re much more keenly aware of since we’ve moved to Our Little House.

Turtles, love them or not?




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8 Responses

  1. Last year a really big turtle appeared in our yard and decided to bed down for the night in a garden under a tree. In the morning it was gone. We’ve had lots of smaller ones wander through as well. At our last house in the country, our neighbor found a big snapper and taunted it for a while, getting it to break sticks he shoved at it. Made me completely sick.

  2. People can be so dreadful. We might go visit a special turtle at Lady Elliot Island in Queensland, Australia. Her name is Scratchy and she loves a good scritch.

  3. Brandy N says:

    In Arkansas it is a $5,000 fine to run over a box turtle and completely against the law to keep a box turtle as a pet for longer than 2 days since they are actually endangered now

    • Kerri says:

      Really, Brandy, I did not know that! But so many people kill them here, I can see why they may be endangered. Thanks for the info.

  4. Becky says:

    Love them! I move them off the road when I can and swerve to avoid if I can’t. I have been known to turn around and go back to move them if I can. In Florida we live near a pond and a swampy woods so will sometimes see them in the yard! Fun.

    • Kerri says:

      Yes, i love seeing them around the house too. Chloe, our lab pit mix will pick them up and carry them around, though, and we have to take them away from her and relocate them to the lake.