Sunday, August 31, 2008

Slow and steady? My ass...

So we're hanging around in the living room waiting for dinner to arrive, because we are lazy like that. And we look out and see this large dark object out on the golf course. What on earth?

I'm thinking some golfer lost a shirt or something out there. But then we see part of it move. And I wonder if maybe there's a bird or something out there. Bob says "is that a turtle maybe? Wait, that's too big to be a turtle..."
Well, I figure if it's a bird feeding off a dead animal -which was the theory, because I was of the thought that he was right, it's too damned big to be a turtle- I could scare it by running out on to the golf course. Then we would see it was a raven or a vulture or something.
Then for some reason, because this seems like a good idea, I decide to execute this plan and go shooting out the back door, across the lawn, across the tall grass of the rough and out on to the golf course, waving my arms. Barefoot.
It was not a bird. It was, in fact, a GIGANTIC freakin' turtle that whirled to face me as I came running up at it from the left. Not only a gigantic fucking turtle, but I gigantic freakin' turtle with an abnormally long tail mottled with bumps and spikes.
Now, the last time I saw something that had a tail that looked like that, had a head shaped like that and fit that description, it was an alligator snapping turtle and it was on the Discovery Channel. So...yours truly ran headlong at a snapping turtle. Barefoot.
(It was later confirmed as a Common Snapping Turtle, resident of North American ponds and streams!)
Needless to say, please don't look me up when the zombie apocalypse comes. I will probably think the horde of zombies in the back yard are a flock of crows and run up to them to try and scatter them. Barefoot.
The turtle was covered in mud, so as best as we could decipher he probably crawled out from the pond a few hundred yards away and went exploring, to what end we could not fathom. I ran and got my camera and some shoes and proceeded to take some photographs and a little video.
Wanna know how big this guy was? Here he is about 8 feet from Bob.

Freakin' HUGE. And fast. We got video of it fairly sprinting along the grass. When Bob voiced concern about it being stuck out there, it opted to make both of us look like idiots by hefting itself up and taking off at fast enough pace that we had to fast-walk to keep up with it!
What was neat was the underside of his chin, which was mottled and yellow-brown as if it were tree bark. The legs were marked similarly. You could definitely see how he'd evolved to look like a log just sitting there in the murky water.
As we watched he actually turned quickly to follow a large dragonfly that went zipping past him. The turtle was very alert and aware of his surroundings, and watched me, craning his head to get a better look when I knelt down to get a few shots.
Want to know something funny? He moved so fast he was a blur in most of the images I got.

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