Big, Old, Ugly, And Amazing!

June 16, 2009

OK, so this is completely unrelated to IT!

For those of us that witnessed it?  – Well, at least for most of us -this was a once in a lifetime event.

Sorry, let me back up a bit …

It is a Canadian summer, so when it is time to celebrate some family events, what do you do? – Of course!  a family gathering at the old cottage. The weekend was gorgeous, even the rain that was supposed to fall, managed to stay away……

Surprise!

Shortly after many of us arrived – somebody noticed that the biggest, baddest, ugliest snapping turtle that I have seen in a long, long while had crawled right underneath one of our cars.

I am guessing this ‘ol gal was older than my kids, as the shell had a width  of 12 to 15 inches! And the experts tell me that  turtle size is related to age. 

Anyway!

She was being very stubborn and actually refused to be “shooed” out from under the car. And if you know snapping turtles – you don’t reach out to shake hands!

So we decided to call the experts; simply because with 3 dogs and young kids, a big snapper in the middle of the party is a recipe for disaster. Being in the Ottawa area, we are lucky,  there is a well known reptile zoo – that most people here are quite familiar with. These folks are really  popular because they will bring lizards, snakes and other critters to birthday parties and other types of events – and really know the various species. (they advocate and educate too)

So we got on the phone with the question; how to move Very Large Snapping Turtles That Are In Unpleasant Moods. Their knowledgeable staff informed us how. (and just grabbing them by the shell is not the way!- as they can apparently bite most of the diameter around their shells)

So! How do you move Very Large Snapping Turtles That Are In Unpleasant Moods?

Well, I won’t insult anyone and say “easy” – but; at a good restaurant, have you ever seen a great wine server present a bottle of wine to a customer? – Where you hold the top of the bottle in one hand with the base supported by the other forearm which is at right angles to the bottle?

Similar idea!

You grab the base of the tail, (very thick, very strong, and also very ugly) and lift up the hind-end, and then support the rear most portion of the shell with the other forearm. You can then drag the critter in the direction you wish to take them. We were advised that although they cannot bite you in that position – you still may get scratched by the rear claws – so a thick jacket wrapped around the arm can help!

So we dragged her some distance away – and then found that she turned around and headed right back towards us!

Being smart (cough) humans – we did the next logical thing and moved all of the cars away from where she was heading. (we know when we are beat!)

Then, The Amazing!

The old girl went right back to where she was when we dragged her away, dug herself a hole, and proceeded to lay her eggs. With about 20 of us from 7 year old kids to grandparents a few feet away watching.

Every 30 seconds or so – you could see a new egg drop out into the hole until there was a pretty large pile.

She then covered it up – shot us the middle finger (figuratively speaking!) and then wandered away.

As this was part of a gravel and sand driveway – we cordoned off the area so no other cars can drive over that spot.

Amazing?

You bet – something that all of us will remember for a good long while!

Snapping Turtle

Snapping Turtle

Photo Credit Scott Ableman via flickr

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2 Responses to “Big, Old, Ugly, And Amazing!”

  1. elliotross Says:

    🙂

    She had not started digging when we first found her – She only did that after she came back – the first little ones should be out in September (according to Google!)

    The spot is about 30 feet from water – but the hill is pretty steep – so I am not sure how that will unfold!

    Thanks!

  2. XUP Says:

    Wow! Thanks for letting me know about your post. That’s incredible. Poor old thing getting dragged away from her nest! You’ll have to provide updates when the things hatch. Are you anywhere near water? Don’t they kind of need that when they’re first born?


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