Monday, May 3, 2010

Turtles and Doves

When I was young, I had a box turtle. I don't remember where I got it -- probably in the woods -- but I loved that thing. I named it Rudy. We'll call Rudy a her for writing ease. Rudy was very small -- probably two to three inches in diameter. I fed her turtle food and caught weevils for her. She loved fresh bugs. Sometimes she stayed in a shoe box and other times I kept her on our glass porch. I probably had her for at least a year, maybe two. One day, my dad's dog killed her. It was an accident; he was just playing, but I was devastated. I remember lying in my bed upstairs sobbing about that turtle. I wrote her a letter about how much I loved her, and I stuffed it in her little cardboard food container -- like the ones fish food comes in -- and I kept that letter in the drawer of my bedside table for years. I would love to read that letter today. I would probably be so embarrassed!

To this day, unless I'm in an absolute hurry or the turtle is big, fast, and a snapper, I stop and get turtles out of the road. I just put them over on the side of the direction in which they were going. I can't let "nature" happen and let them get squished.

The other day when Blair and I were headed somewhere, there was a box turtle in the road. He was a smaller turtle, so instead of putting him on the side of the road, I put him in my floorboard to show Blair. One time during the ride he touched my ankle with his little nails. I had forgotten he was down there, so I just about jumped out of my britches!

Blair got to see him come out of his shell for a little bit before she scared him back in.

She was really curious about him.

"Where'd he go?"

When she started wanting to carry him around, we let him go.
It was a good experience for my little animal lover. She's just like her mama was from a very early age. I played with stuffed birds from day one and loved all other animals, including frogs and turtles. I need to try to find some pictures of me at three years old with my "baby doll" -- a frozen dove wrapped in a paper towel!


Joanna Davis said...

we have a resident turtle (about that same size) in our yard! he has a burrow and everything, and it's really messing up my yard! the other day i had the opportunity to pick him up and walk him down the street so he'd find a new home...but i just put him on the other side of the yard so he would walk back to his burrow and reece could watch and "pet" and squeal. i couldn't bring myself to set reece up for the heartache!

CHERI said...

Just be sure to wash hands after handling turtles as some carry salmonella!

Unknown said...

Turtles have site fidelity and live in a small home territory. Because of this, you should never move them more than a few hundred feet (like helping them across the road). Studies show that when box turtles are moved to a new location, less than 30% actually survive.

Great story!