Sunday, July 19, 2009

Dinosaurs in our time!

So every now and again we meet a real live dinosaur - I picked up one the other day to put him in the pond by the road - this was a large fist sized painted turtle, quite indignant by how he suddenly started a flight experience rather than doing his turtle track slowly moving across the yellow line into the other lane - honestly I thought I had run over him, although I didn't feel a crunch under my tires, so I was very pleased to see him/her kicking furiously and bobbing the head in an effort to increase the flight speed and get to the other side sooner rather than later.
Today another older and bigger dinosaur crossed our paths.

A young friend of the family came racing into the driveway on his bike on his way to ...... well, I am not sure. But he had seen something in the ditch just down the road from us and had stopped to investigate. Next he jumped back on the bike and proceeded to our house to tell us about his find. A very large and very mature snapper turtle it was - one of the ones which can bite of your finger in a snap - pardon the pun - but they really can.






And so we slipped into our shoes and immediately started our trek down to the culvert where he had seen the creature just moments before. We did some of our own snapping with the camera but made sure not to get too close since this turtle was apprx. 37 cm (15") long in the carapace (shell) and he can swing his head out on a neck which is 12-15cm (5-6") long and as I said - snap - snap - ER! Careful is our middle names though and so we just kept snapping pics while he was pulling his head into safety and at times raising up his body on his hind legs, lifting and sinking, probably in an attempt to look dangerous and even larger.








What was really intriguing was the eyes and I was lucky to find the zoom button on the camera and thus I had fun looking for patterns which might eventually be woven into a tapestry or a piece of yardage on one of my looms.



May have to go down to the spot and see how far he has gotten - and so I did, a brisk little evening stroll and ..... the turtle has turtled off to somewhere safer than the side of the road. We looked up and down the ditch on both sides and hopefully he has gone up over the green pasture on his own side.
This also made me check the internet not in great depth but there are sites which will tell you how to calculate the age of a turtle, one just mentioned the rings - think I have to do a close up another time to be able to count properly - and here is one of the many links I found in case someone should be interested in knowing a little more of this beautiful beast http://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/snappers.htm
Having a walking, moving, living dinosaur of this calibre in one's neighbourhood is quite a privilege!

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