Tag: Turtles

If you meet the snapping turtle in the road…

Snapping Turtle-Lancaster County Park
Snapping Turtle-Lancaster County Park

If you meet the snapping turtle in the road call the turtle man. Unfortunately the turtle man lives in Kentucky so you might have to figure something out for yourself. Based on today’s experience, I strongly suggest you do not try to pick him up.

I’ve saved many turtles in my day by gently moving them across the road in the direction they were traveling, so I thought: why is this day different than any other day? And as he went to bite off my hand I realized that snapping turtles have a bit of an attitude.

When I first saw him I wasn’t even sure it was a turtle it looked so strange. So I got out to confirm this and ran back for my camera. After a few quick shots I decided to save him from becoming a paperweight, but I guess he wasn’t thinking that far ahead and resisted. Then I got my other camera.

Several drivers slowed to look at the turtle and the photographer in the middle of the road, some gave advice and some made jokes. But it only takes one person driving while on their phone to run us both over so I nudged him across.

Park rangers showed up and after a brief discussion everyone felt he was fine where he was, safely on the other side of the road in the wet grass. I was the only one that knew he was actually headed up the hill, possibly for a Slurpee, but he’s an adult and has to play the hand he’s dealt. Fortunately it wasn’t mine.

Turtle Existentialism

Turtle Existentialism
Turtle Existentialism

Every year I save at least three turtles, it doesn’t take much effort and hopefully they appreciate it. Now by saving them I don’t mean I read them a short passage from the bible, or tell them an inspirational story about races with rabbits. I help them across the road before they get run over in a senseless slaughter.

The most important thing to remember is to move them in the direction that they were already traveling. They know where they want to go, they’ve probably planned out the trip for weeks in not months, so keep this in mind.

Knowing that you’ve probably saved a life is reward enough, but now that the little guy is safe you might as well take a few pictures. Gently place the turtle in good light and try different compositions. At some point, usually after 20 or more shots they will probably hiss at you.

This is a reminder to check your settings and wrap it up. Turtles, contrary to popular opinion, are impatient creatures and want to move on.

I found this one at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area and tried to capture his dignity and sense of purpose. I wanted to convey turtle existentialism and the search for meaning in all living things.

When all was said and done though, it was a hissing, annoyed turtle with a man 100 times his size lying in the road pointing a camera in his little turtle face, looking for meaning on a beautiful summer day. Stalemate.