Friday was a difficult day. There are always parts of any job that are difficult and unpleasant and that was what Friday was for me. Anyway I finally got out of the office about 6:00 p.m. and I met a friend who had asked me to take some images for her, which I was glad to do. Got that taken care of and headed out-of-town on the Hurstville Road. About a half mile down the road I saw a bunch of cars all stopped with flashers on and I almost did a U-turn because I thought the road was blocked by an accident.
Then I thought, well I’m a photographer, why not go take a picture of it. What I found was not what I originally thought it was. The car in front of this enormous turtle was a vehicle from one of the big dealerships in town. They always use the Hurstville Road for their test drives. They were apparently on the way back to town when the driver (a young lady) stopped to avoid hitting this turtle and put on her flashers to warn other motorists.
When I got close enough to see what was going on I saw an opportunity to photograph a rare form of wildlife and perhaps help protect it. So I pulled off the road, grabbed the D4 and headed back to where they were stopped. The Mother of the young test driver was trying to call law enforcement and the sales rep was looking at his watch knowing he’d been gone too long. The young lady was really nervous for the turtle. My first inclination was to grab the turtle on either side of its shell and lift it off the highway. Then I saw the very sharp claws it had on all for legs and realized those would be digging into my hands.
So I called my friend Ann Burns. She is a Naturalist for the DNR at the Interpretive Center and she would know what to do. I was able to reach her and she said that as heartbreaking as it may be the turtle was on a mission. If it was a female turtle, she may be on her way to lay eggs and nothing short of putting her in a cage was going to detour her from that mission. Same thing if it was a male, he would have a reason to be where he was and nothing would stop him from that quest. Her best advice was to try to figure which way it was going and help it across the road if possible but to remember they are very dangerous.
About that time Mike showed up. He had seen the turtle on his way home but he had his dogs in his pickup and he had to drop them off before coming back to help. Mike is a big strong guy who is use to working with heavy objects. He thought about picking it up by the tail as he had heard one time that was the safest way but then he also decided that might be a struggle he didn’t want. So I would get the turtle’s attention and then Mike would take his foot and scoot him as far as he could. After about 10 minutes of this he finally got him off the roadway and on the embankment.
By this time a Deputy Sheriff arrived. I told him what Ann had said and he acknowledge that was probably correct. He estimated the weight to be about 60 pounds and thought he might be upwards of 50 years old. I decided it was time for me to leave and so I put my camera away and headed for Miller time. 🙂
Interestingly enough Saturday I was watching the National Geographic channel and they showed an outdoors man picking up a huge turtle (about the same size as this one) with the tail in one hand and he put his other hand on the bottom of the shell rendering the turtle defenseless. 🙂 If only we would have known!
Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy your Sunday and be careful.