Operation: Turtle

There are a lot of different things you could say about The W family.  But there is one title that we all proudly bear.

We are Turtle Rescuers.

From an early age I was taught that if you ever see a turtle crossing the road during laying season (since this is pretty much the only time that they’re up to Risky Business), you have the obligation to rescue it.

Which, over the years, has led to me honing the skills of spotting the turtle, identifying the turtle (painted?  box?), picking up the turtle  and carrying the turtle to safety without it peeing all over me.

You know, really useful stuff.

I remember once, when I was in elementary school, Mom and Dad were looking for a new jeep.  After a bit of searching and test driving, they thought they had finally found the one.  And then the owner told them that he purposefully ran over turtles crossing the road wherever he saw them.

They did not buy the jeep.

Note: If you see a turtle trying to cross the road, pay attention to what direction it’s traveling in.  When you rescue it, make sure that you take it that direction.  Turtles are creatures who return to the same laying locations every year so if you don’t take them where they’re going, you might be undoing a day’s worth of work.

And they’re going to try to cross that road again.

While I originally thought that I might do a turtle-rescue PSA at some point this spring, that kind of fell to the wayside.

But then tonight happened, so I pinky swear this all has a point.

Here Marcus and I are, driving over to Mom and Dad’s house so he can drop me off before tonight’s bridal shower.  It’s 6 PM and we’re on a busy road with a speed limit of 50 MPH.

Which is all right and good until we, along with everyone else in our lane, swerve to avoid what looks like a roll of sod in the middle of the road.

And then it hits me.

Dramatic re-enactment turtle. The placement is actually fairly accurate.

It’s a giant snapping turtle that is so old, it has moss growing on its shell.

As we’re driving towards the road that will take us into the neighborhood, I’m trying to debate the merits of attempting to save a turtle in the middle of the road, surrounded by SUVs going 50 MPH.

Pros: Excellent karma.  Sense of vindication.  Inner peace.

Cons: You might actually get hit by a car.

By the time we made the turn into the neighborhood, we had already started making a U-Turn to go back for it.

Not that we’re experts at Turtle Rescue in high-traffic areas but in the 60 seconds we had to figure the situation out, we decided that the only way to make this work was to completely stop traffic.

Because that’s a totally sane train of thought.

So Marcus pulled into the lane closest to the turtle and flipped on our hazard lights.

And now I need for y’all to try to imagine the scene that unfolded.

Obviously I was totally prepared for the occasion, so there I am, kicking off my cork wedges, and pawing through my car for anything to wrangle the turtle with.  I ended up selecting the University of Minnesota umbrella and the white sheet I always have stashed in my trunk (the UGG boots were a close third).

Everything I’ve ever been told about snapping turtles involves them being able to move with incredible speed when they’ve set their minds to it, and being able to lunge at you with their mouths wide open before you can even bat an eye.

They are called Snapping Turtles for a reason.

Distance is key.

So here I am, in the middle of this extremely busy road.  Barefoot.  Wearing my new, pink Lilly Pulitzer shift.  Waving a queen-sized white sheet above my head with a University of Minnesota pseudo-golf umbrella looped around my arm.

And I am pleading with this turtle to stop walking UP the road and to just pick a side.

All the while, traffic in both lanes has completely stopped.

After staring me down for what felt like an eternity, I realized that I had a pacifist turtle on my hands.  She had zero interest in biting anything, but a lot of interest in taking her show from the middle of the road to the side of the road.

In peace.

But it gets better.  Because tonight is one of those nights where I was so absolutely touched by this soon-to-be-husband of mine.

After he dropped me off, he went back to make sure that the turtle had not managed to get herself killed.  And before he came to say hello to all of the shower guests at the end of the party, he drove down that stretch of road one more time to make sure that all was still well.

There is absolutely nothing he could have done for me tonight that could have ever possibly been more endearing.

Have you ever rescued a turtle?

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17 responses to “Operation: Turtle

  1. Nope, have never rescued a turtle. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one around here – I think I’m too far north? Can’t believe someone would purposely run them over. Just. Wrong.

  2. Sadly, I have not. Usually, when I spot them, they’ve reached their destination a road that is empty and slower than they are with the end just in sight.
    Chris worked for a turtle rescue once, however. He smuggled rescued turtles back into the wild. He felt so incredibly daring.
    So sweet of Marcus to check on the turtle! Brownie points right there!

  3. *reached their destination OR on an empty road . . . oops ;]

  4. Oh my goodness. That is the greatest story ever, and I bet it would be incredibly entertaining to watch. You are a good person to save turtles, because turtles are sweet.
    I’ve never rescued a turtle, but I’ve never seen a turtle crossing the street.

  5. I cannot believe someone would intentionally run over an innocent turtle!!!!!! I’m glad you saved this one before the crazy jeep owners spotted him

  6. The image in my head of this scene is hilarious!. My parents’ house has a pond in the backyard and we were always plagued with snapping turtles in precarious locations. While they never really got into dangerous situations (our cul-de-sac was far from a busy road), they would usually end up somewhere near our driveway, snapping at us. I have a great memory of my dad grabbing his hand truck once, scooping the turtle onto it, and wheeling it down the backyard to the pond, all while the turtle snapped viciously at the air. Gotta protect the fam.

  7. My darling friend, how I have missed you. This post so spoke to me. This is also Todd’s lot in life it seems. He’s save a turtle in the middle of a 45mph road. I have never got out to save one in such treachery. I do always swerve though.

  8. I love turtles. I once rescued one the size of a large dinner plate that had crawled out of a creek onto a road. It was trying to get over a 6″ curb and couldn’t clear it. I tried to pick it up, but it was covered in moss and creek slime and was too slippery, so I grabbed the lid off a Xerox paper box I had in the back of my Jeep, and used it to scoop the turtle up just enough to get him/her back into the grass next to the creek. I think I washed my hands for 10 minutes when I got to work, but good karma is good karma! If I am able to stop without getting killed or maimed, I always rescue turtles.

  9. OMG at first i thought you stopped to take the picture!!

    I have rescued a turtle before.. I used to live in FL so they were always trying to cross the road!

  10. I had a boss at my pervious job who was a turtle and animal advocate. She was known for stopping to “rescue”animals on the way to sales calls. She planned this tropical vacation with her husband to a “turtle rescue”, and saw people taking them off the beach and she went to this observatory, which talked all about turtles natural habitat. They left, and across the street was a stand selling turtle meat, which is, apparently, a delicacy. Here she is, thinking shes on the Big Mission to save the sea turtles, when they are actually being rescued for their meat. We teased her for MONTHS.

  11. I love turtles too! I haven’t personally, but Husband rescued a ridley turtle that washed up on the beach once. I work with this turtle biologist who is pretty good at diving stealthy into the water with his snorkel and coming up with a turtle in hand. Like magic.

  12. Love, love, LOVE turtles! I have never had the opportunity to rescue one–I’ve never seen one cross the road. But I stopped to help many duck families, and have rescued many dogs jogging along busy roads. Does that count?

  13. Love, love, LOVE turtles! I have never had the opportunity to rescue one–I’ve never seen one cross the road. But I stopped to help many duck families, and have rescued many dogs jogging along busy roads. Does that count?

    BTW–Marcus rules. But you already knew that.

  14. HAHAHAHAAH soooo cute! Love rescuing turtles!

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