I just got slashed by a talon while trying to rescue an animal. It just goes to show,
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished.
OK, yes, the talon belong to a turtle…Correction…A tortoise (I just looked up the difference between a turtle and a tortoise). But he was a really BIG TORTOISE, probably a foot in diameter. He was trying to cross the road, so I had to help him across so he wouldn’t get hit by a car, right?
What did I get for my efforts? He roared at me when I picked him up! OK, well maybe he hissed at me. But it scared the bejeezus out of me. Did I panic? Maybe just a little.
Plus, I was surprised he could hiss, and I couldn’t tell if he could also reach his neck around and bite me. (Not that I had ever actually heard of anyone being treated for a tortoise bite.) I froze because this guy looked like a snapping turtle. Rooted to the yellow line in the middle of the road, I tried to decide whether to drop my rescuee and escape, or heroically take him with me and get out of the street.
Did I mention he was heavy? And frantically thrashing? And hissing?
The last time something hissed at me, it was legless and slithered. He was not a happy tortoise. That’s what happens when you piss off a turtle.
In the midst of all that thrashing, one of his talons slashed my finger.
Did I mention I was in a cute dress? Can you picture me holding a heavy, hissing, thrashing shell away from me so I don’t get turtle on my outfit, bleeding from turtle abuse, tottering on heels to the other side of the road, my fears alternating between breaking his shell if I dropped him, and sustaining more personal harm. (I’m telling you, he was vicious!)
We made it to the other side of the road. I put him down, checked out my wound, and tottered back to my car. He didn’t even say thank you.
A quick trip to the drugstore for antibiotics and a bandage, and I still made it to my meeting on time. Hah!
Anyone know what kind of turtle/tortoise this was?
By the way, did you know that if you are going to move reptiles out of the road, you should move them in the direction they were headed? Otherwise, after you leave, they will go back to what they were doing.
Did you also know there is more road kill before and after a storm? I’ll bet you’re wondering why. It’s because roads are built along waterways since:
- they follow old animal trails along the water banks;
- it’s cheaper to make a parallel road than a perpendicular bridge. (Did you see how I snuck some math in there?)
When animals sense a storm coming, they move to higher ground to where it is less likely to flood. After the storm…you guessed it…they go back.
This was not my first wildlife rescue. I have a pigeon on the highway, and an owl on a back road in my credits, not to mention a mouse when I was 4 years old who bit me. Don’t worry. I’ve finally learned my lesson.
Next time I’ll wear gloves.