We had a report from a correspondent that some people rescued a turtle from the road in our neighborhood. Hickory and I leapt branch to branch to a spot near the golf course, thinking we’d see another pond turtle. After all, we’ve had a lot of rain.
We got there just as they placed her in a safe spot in the cluster natural area.
“This one’s a box turtle,” Hickory said. “At least it belongs on land, even if the middle of the street isn’t the best spot.”
“Eww,” I said, “What’s all that orange gunk on her face?”
He got closer. “It’s slug slime,” he said just as she pulled in.
“Yuck! They eat slugs?”
“Yep. Probably why she was in the street. The rain brings out the worms and slugs. The birds and turtles go after them, but this poor gal couldn’t get back up the curb.”
“Well, despite her poor taste in food,” I said, “she’s lucky some people with sharp eyes spotted her and got her into the woods again.”
Then Hickory did something I never would have expected. He flipped the turtle on her back.
“What’d you do that for?”
“You asked why she’s called a box turtle.”
“I did not.”
“Well, you should have. Your readers what to know and this shows why. Eastern Box Turtles close up like a box for defense. Not from you or I, but so those burly raccoons don’t eat them.”
“Ah. So… you’re gonna flip her over, right?”
“Nah, she can get herself upright again. It’s not like cartoons. She’ll stick out her long neck and get upright again.”
He ran off and I followed. But only a short ways. I waited to make sure the turtle was back on her feet. But the look she gave me wasn’t a happy one.