Saturday, July 30, 2011

Saga of the Snapping Turtle

You know from reading this Blog that we have this pond on our property that attracts all sorts of wildlife.  And we love it.  There's lots of action, and you can read about our feisty little hawk HERE and Geese with Bad Behavior HERE.

Most of the time, it is a beautiful preserve for us to enjoy:

Like watching these wild Pond Lilies bloom every morning, and close up in the evening.

However.  For the better part of 10 years, we've suffered (along with our fish) a reclusive inhabitant who resides in the murky bottom and slaughters baby ducks and geese, our fish, and anything else he decides looks toothsome enough to eat.  Occasionally, he surfaces and scares us half to death with his evil looking beak and enormous head.  Years ago, we identified him as a Snapping Turtle, and research told us we HAD to get him out of the pond or he would kill everything.  Easier said than done.

He has provided my Husband with years and years of hunting activity...and on Thursday night, after the longest hunt in history, Husband snagged him with his innovative bait/trap, and we were able to man/woman-handle him into a big garbage can.

Check out the claws, the beak, and the horns on his tail...those yellow spurs tucked around his rear end!

We performed High Fives all over the yard.
And Whooped and Hollered.
Our pond critters were Safe At Last!

We loaded him into the truck and traveled some distance away to release him into an active creek.  He was mad as hell by the time we drug the can through the woods to the creek:

There is a bank in front of him, and he raced right toward it and tumbled down to the bottom rather than just climbing down.  Things were moving pretty fast here, as you can see by the camera blur.
He immediately took off for the water in a huff:

Take a look at that horned tail...can you believe this prehistoric creature was in our idyllic little pond??
He moved with great purpose toward the creek, and just dove in...

He was moving VERY fast at this point.
As soon as he got into deeper water, he paused in a little area and positioned himself so that he could look at us...which was just unnerving.

He is looking straight at us.  Scary.
We had to delay dinner for awhile to have celebratory drinks on the deck.

We emailed friends and family, who cheered our success, and congratulated us on having our peaceful pond back again...we discussed how to re-stock the pond.  I thought ahead to next Spring and a batch of wild baby Wood Ducks that didn't get eaten up by a vicious prehistoric monster.

And then this morning, when Husband went out to check the pump that aerates the pond, that same evil head popped up out of the water, and pinned him with the kind of glare that says, "You Are Now Officially On My S--t List, you idiot."  Same turtle, just tired and hungry.  And mad.  Mad.   

I checked the Snapping Turtle website and it says in fine print that after you have managed to trap your troublesome tenant, you're supposed to take it at least 10 miles away.  That is twice the height of Mt. Everest.

Back to the hunt.

News Flash!! News Flash!!

It wasn't the same turtle!  I think it is his wife!  I was just getting ready to publish this Post, when I heard Husband shout out to come and help.  I ran down to the pond and positioned my garbage can, while Husband manned the line and rake.  We're getting to be pros at this!

Here she is - smaller but even more furious than her mate:

She was Hissing at us, nonstop.

I declined to attend the release this time so that I could finish this post and get it published.  Do you think our pond is safe, NOW?

Please let that be the last one - Please?


Helen DeRamus said...

Great adventure. Congrats on your success.

Linda McMullan said...

Helen, now I'm nervous about the YEARS those two spent together, and, well, you know how young men and women many BABY SNAPPING TURTLES do you think are hiding out in that pond??!

The Art of Doing Stuff said...

Now THAT is hilarious. I thought I had troubles with my delinquent chipmunk. ~ karen

Linda McMullan said...

Karen - now we've got to know about that delinquent chipmunk...Tell, Tell!


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