I was driving to the Timber Pointe Outdoor Center for my triathlon club’s weekly open water swim. As I was about to turn into the driveway of the camp, I saw something small in the middle of the road that looked like a turtle. Turns out it was, in fact, a turtle.
I skillfully maneuvered my car around the little guy and parked on the side of the road. Since the middle of a busy driveway, right next to the road, is no place for a turtle, I decided to lend it a hand.
As I approached some of my Boy Scout knowledge started to come back to me:
Long, spikey tail. Check.
Rigid, sharp shell. Check.
Ugly, toady face. Check.
My expert assessment was that this turtle was a snapping turtle. But as it wasn’t much bigger than a common box turtle, I figured I could just grab it from the sides, sandwich style, and move it to greener, less driven pastures. I was going to be a hero.
Wrong. Right as I got my hands to the side of this scaly bastard it quickly turned, hopped (yes, it turns out turtles can do that), and tried to bite my hand. I could actually hear its jaws snap together as it missed. It was quick. But I was quicker and still have all of my fingers to prove it. Although I admit that being faster than a turtle doesn’t seem impressive, this thing was faster than you would guess.
Since I wouldn’t be able to move this stubborn terrapin with my hands, I employed my superior human knowledge and drew from countless memories of my ancestors to devise a solution that would allow me to move the creature without sacrificing any of my digits.
After I found a stick long enough, I began poking and prodding the turtle toward the ditch. It responded by moving in other directions, digging its claws into the road, and shifting its weight. Basically this idiot turtle was making it as difficult as possible for me to save it.
Finally, after many pokes and prods, none of which made the turtle move much, it bit on the stick as I was pulling it away. Suddenly the turtle was aloft, hanging from the stick–using jaw strength that rivals all but the toughest bear traps. I moved the turtle to the ditch just as it let go, landing safely in the grass.
With that I saved the life of what is likely the most stubborn, mean, and ungrateful turtle on Earth. So that’s good…right?