One of the best things about hiking is that you never know what you are going to see. One day it is llamas and the next an unexpected encounter with a snapping turtle on the way home from a hike.
This one was doing a rather pathetic job of crossing a busy road and was right at the top of a bend in the road. With the rush hour traffic approaching it was only a matter of time before it was food for crows. Lucky for me I saw it. And, the nature person inside of my brain screamed, “TURTLE! TURTLE! TURTLE!”
So, I swerved into the next driveway and hopped out. A man and his wife were looking at the snapper but when the guy tried to pick it up with a shovel to move it, the lethargic snapping turtle transformed into a hissing snapping menace reminiscent of a really mad alligator. (Not that I have ever personally met a really mad alligator but I’d expect a really mad alligator to act like that.)
Because I like to live on the edge–I know a few insane people who go noodling*–I’d gleaned from their bizarre conversations that the best way to get a snapping turtle without getting near that razor sharp beak of a mouth was to grab it by its tail.
So I did!
Now, the snapping turtle, me, and the man and wife attracted the attention of another neighbor. I asked if I could release the turtle in their yard where there is a small creek. They all shrugged, so I took that as a collective yes.
Which was a good answer because the turtle was getting heavier since I had to hold it up off the ground and way from my body at arm’s length for fear of it latching onto my calf while I was trying to take pictures of it. Because you must always take pictures of things like this–so you have evidence.
got the snapper as close to the ground as I could, dropped it and ran carefully set the turtle free and hopped back before it could get latch onto my toe.
We stared at each other for a few minutes and, of course, I took lots of pictures.
This went on for a while…
When I left, the turtle was pretending to be a rock.
I thought he did an excellent job of mimicking the rocks. I think he might have a future in acting. At least that role is a lot better than smooshed on the road.
What great surprises have you had on the trail. Comment on this post on Facebook 6060cincyhikes!
*Noodling is the fine art of catching turtles or catfish by using YOUR HAND as bait. “As in, I stuck my hand underwater along the edge on the bank and noodled (wiggled it along) until something bit on it and then I pulled dat der critter out. Let’s eat!” If you think I’m making this up, just go google noodling for snapping turtles. I’ll wait….Ha, you thought I was making it up.