One Monday morning in late June, I saw what appeared to be a moss-covered dome-shaped boulder moving at the base of a hill just south of the main gates to my property. I'm not saying that boulders never move on hilly terrain such as this; it's just that I've never seen one move uphill of its own accord. So I paid attention.
Quickly I realized this was no ordinary boulder. I watched in fascination as a head, arms and legs and a tail came into view. I began to suspect this was a snapping turtle.
|Is this the way to Mt. Everest?|
There are lots of signs warning of TURTLE CROSSING in the neighbourhood, so I wasn't totally surprised, but I couldn't understand why it was trying to walk up a steep hill. It could have come up the driveway if it wanted an easy route. This was at the same time an enormous influx of people were trying to scale Mount Everest, so I was tempted to name the turtle Sir Edmund Hillary. I thought the better of it when my neighbours pointed out that this snapping turtle was digging a hole in which to lay her eggs.
Early the following Saturday morning, my neighbours emailed to say the turtle was now in the very middle of the entrance to my driveway. They were watching it dig a hole. They explained that snapping turtle eggs need to be protected from predators until they hatch. They lent me a dog crate to tide me over until I had time to build a screened cage as recommended by Credit Valley Conservation.
Once the turtle had laid her eggs, I presume she headed up the driveway towards one of my ponds. I didn't see her again, as I went to Toronto for the day, while my neighbours kept a close eye on events in my driveway.
I read up on snapping turtle eggs and learned that my driveway would be the site of a turtle maternity hospital for basically the entire summer. I'm conflicted: half of me is proud to be the birthplace of an endangered species. The other half of me is extremely irritated that I have to drive around the screened cage. And this latter half of me is indignant that any parent would be so careless as to effectively dump her kids by the side of the road and leave them for someone else to raise. I'm expecting the eggs to hatch any day now, and I'll be very eager to get rid of the turtle cage blocking the entrance to my driveway.
|Who leaves their kids by the side of the road?|
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