In May of this year, I wrote an article about an Eastern snapping turtle that visited my wife’s flowerbed, dug a hole and laid a bunch of eggs in it. I had read on the Internet that it takes about 90 days for the eggs to hatch. I have been watching the spot where she laid the eggs, and have wondered if any of the little guys ever made it. From the picture, I think you can see that at least one did.
I was coming up the driveway on a recent Thursday morning when I saw what I thought was a peculiar looking leaf on the asphalt. On closer inspection, I could see it was a tiny snapping turtle. I picked him up and took him in the house to show Linda, and she was as tickled as I was that I had found him.
I got the camera and took a picture or two. He was about the size of a quarter. I wondered if he would ever have made it if I hadn’t found him. Then, I was reminded of the story of the little girl on the beach. Finding lots of starfish that had become stranded in the sand when the tide went out, she was walking up the beach, picking up the starfish and putting them back in the ocean.
Her friend told her she didn’t have to do that, that there were so many of them her efforts wouldn’t make a difference. The wise little girl picked up one more starfish, held it up for her friend to see, and said, “Well, it will make a difference to this one.” Then she put the starfish back in the water.
I wanted to keep the tiny snapper for a little while, at least long enough to show him to my granddaughter, or to take him to the carnival that night and let the children who visited the Zoo Dip stand to see him. But, I thought better of it, and took him down to the little stream that runs across the end of our front yard.
I sat him at the edge of the water, where he remained for a minute or two while I took another picture. Then, he made his way into the tiny stream of flowing water. As the water started to wash him down stream, he came to a small patch of watercress. He moved under the vegetation and down into the mud just a bit. Then, he stuck his tiny nose up above the water. I took one more picture and left him there. (If my granddaughter had been there, she would have said, “He looks so happy.”)
Linda said he would eat the goldfish in the little pond, and, when he is big enough, he probably will, if he can catch them. But, I can get 10 more goldfish for a dollar at Noah’s Ark, in Front Royal. He is worth the investment.