The Visitor

Just a few weeks ago I mentioned the opossum who knocked on our front door in the middle of the night. I didn’t get a snapshot of the possum, but I did get one of our latest front door visitor.

Chelydra Serpentina

Surprised? We certainly were. Just for the record, the closest body of water to the cottage is a very small ephemeral spring pond covered in green slime, even in the spring, about 600 yards down the hill. Through brush, briars, and scrubby bushes, which, in all likelihood matters not to a turtle. But still, it seems very far away.

She spent the day in the yard, as Mr. H.C. said, Just chillin’. I thought perhaps she’d been hit by a car; her shell didn’t look all that new or shiny. There were actually quite a few nicks and dents, but neither of us tried to get too close. We made sure the cat spent the day inside.

Then as we were eating dinner, she thought to come a little closer. Perhaps she liked the smell of cooked chicken? Mr. H.C. threw her some apple slices, which she disdained. We left by the door on the other side of the yard, and when we returned two hours later, she was gone.

We don’t really know that she was a she-turtle; however, our research implied that female snapping turtles range far and wide from mid-May to mid-June looking for suitable egg-laying spots. Wikipedia says it is quite common to find them far away from water — the females especially are looking for a sandy spot for easy digging. Sadly, she is also far away from any sandy soil here in the land of Greene County clay. Perhaps if she finds that little watering hole, the woodsy litter around it will be good for depositing a clutch of snapping turtle eggs.

There’s a wonderful African Anansi story (Anansi and the Turtle) which I used to tell to during story times: Turtle came to eat at Anansi’s house and he wouldn’t let her in because her feet were muddy. So she lumbered down to the stream to wash them, but by the time she got back to Anansi’s house her feet were muddy again. Yes, her feet definitely don’t look clean enough to come in the house. Hmmm… this sounds like it might be a story post with photos for some other time….

6 thoughts on “The Visitor

  1. Years ago, I lived in a house smack in the middle of the city. My best friend lived next door, and animals came for rescue. It made no sense, but they came, orphaned possums, baby birds, ducks (no water nearby, how’d we get the ducks), injured dogs or cats, raccoons, rabbits. Once, an iguana! They came. We did the best we could, fed whoever came, nursed them back to health and found homes (or released them.) It made no sense that they came. Another friend, a psychic came to visit, and she told us that the houses glowed with a light that told the animals it was safe.

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    • Well, we have a rescued cat, but if any critters except a cat or dog came to our house needing care, they’d be in trouble! Once when the kids were little we tried to rescue a baby raccoon whose mother had been hit by a car. For about 5 minutes we had visions of taming him as a pet — ever read Rascal by Sterling North? Then he got out of the giant box we had him in and we spent a half-hour chasing him around the house. All this while the door was open. Do you think he went out voluntarily? We ended up taking him down by the stream where we had seen raccoon prints and hoping someone else would adopt him…
      I don’t think our house was glowing… :-)

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