...sometimes even a single feather is enough to fly. (Robert Maclean)


eastern painted turtle

I've wanted turtles in our pond for soooooooo long!
Two years ago I bought two red eared sliders and two painted turtles
 and introduced them to the pond, but they quickly left.  

They moved on to bigger ponds... 
And sadly, one walked down the road and did not have a happy ending. 


Two weeks ago when I was driving home from work,
I saw a turtle crossing the road. 

I had seen a big honking snapper on the same road just a few days before,
so I was tuned in to the fact that it's turtle mating season.  

If I hadn't been specifically looking out for turtles, I might not have noticed it at all.
It might have registered as a rock, or road debris of some sort.

 Well, this turtle was just about in the middle of my lane, and all I could envision 
was the awful stream of commuter traffic and people not paying attention 
crushing it inadvertently.
I could not have that.

I thought about it and realize that within the next five minutes, 
probably 20 cars would come by and 
it would be directly in the path of their tires, before even making it to the middle of the road.

Oh no no no!

I had read that the "right thing to do" if you see a turtle crossing the road 
(if it's NOT a snapper, don't ever pick one of those up!) 
is to park, gently lift the turtle and place it at the other side, where it was headed.
Essentially, give the turtle a human hitch-hike out of the danger zone.

So, why not... simply put it in your car 
and take it to home to your pond to see if it will live happily ever after with you?  

Well, because there's a good chance the turtle 
is trying to get somewhere to mate or lay eggs
and if you take it, it will probably try to head off again, 
only this time not knowing the territory, 
and will be likely to encounter even more dangerous traffic...

 Well... our house is literally right around the corner.
So I didn't think there would be too much harm in a very, very slight relocation experiment.

I was so excited that I forgot to check the plastron (the belly part of the shell / underneath)
 to try to figure out how old he/she might be.

Based on the size, this is probably a she.
And a fairly mature she at that.
But I can only guess.

 an Eastern Painted Turtle
chrysemys picta

so beautiful...

 The time before when I bought turtles, I just put them into the pond.
This time we decided to put the turtle NEXT to the pond, so it would be her choice to enter the pond.
And given that she instinctively felt that I was a threat, 
I thought, well, maybe she will think that the pond is a safe haven from
big bad me. 

 I walked away for a few minutes to put some logs in the pond for her to bask on,
and by the time I got back to check on her, she had scooted herself right in.
That was the last I saw of her for over a week. 

I worried that maybe she was lonely.
But then I read that turtles will tolerate others, but they're quite happy alone.
They're born alone, to fend for themselves.
Other turtles can mean competition.

I spotted her once, swimming near the surface,
but after many more days of no sightings, 
I started to think that maybe she, too, left our pond for a bigger body of water.

 Then a few days ago, I was talking to my sister on the phone and saw movement at the pond.
And there the beautiful turtle was!
Instead of basking on the logs I put in the pond,
it seems that she prefers the lily pads...
And she had company, too, if you look carefully amongst the lily pads,
but they are co-existing fine enough it seems.
I don't think either one poses a threat to the other, based on size.
 It seems promising that if she's stayed around this long,
maybe she'll stay awhile longer!

We can only hope...!

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