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Friday, June 3, 2011

Drop That Turtle!

As I was strolling along the trail in Garst Mill Park I came upon this little fellow...

I took the pic with my phone so it's not a good shot and you probably can't tell how big the turtle is, but he was a tiny little thing no larger than two or three inches. I had never seen a turtle in the creek at Garst Mill so was happy that there was a good possibility I would begin seeing a turtle family during my future strolls.

I continued walking to the end of the trail, looking forward to seeing the little guy again on my way back. When I did my turn-around to head back I saw a woman far ahead of me. She spotted the turtle too, but she did not leave him where he was. She stooped down and picked him up. Now, I know a little about having wild turtles as pets from years ago when my kids found two in our yard and decided to built an outdoor habitat for them. After researching it we realized it was not fair to Thunder and Lightning and the best thing we could do was put them exactly where we found them, facing the way they were headed. We never got the chance because they escaped and went on their merry way alone. We realized wild turtles do not make good pets so anytime we'd see one crossing the road, we would help them get across to safety, always facing the way they were heading.

Anyway, I stepped up my walk to a sprint to catch up with the woman who had picked up the little guy. Out of breath I caught her as she was talking on her cell phone in Chinese or Korean. I hoped she would understand when I said, "Miss, excuse me, but you really should put that turtle back where you found him. He's so tiny he needs his mother and if you don't he'll most likely die."

She gave me a dirty look and said, ok, ok. I continued my walk and then after a couple of seconds turned around to see if she had put the baby back. At first I couldn't see her but then noticed someone walking through the grass towards the parking area. It was her. She had something in her hand and I couldn't tell if it was a cell phone or the turtle. She got into her car and left.

I looked at the ground where the baby turtle was originally and didn't see him. I scoured the grassy path from where I had first seen him to where I had confronted the woman. Nothing. I can only hope she did put him down, somewhere in the grass and not in her pocket.


  1. Courageous of you to tell the woman to do the right thing. The pet stores around here have all the turtles anyone could want.

  2. Slam, you should have seen the dirty "mind your own business" look I received. This turtle was unlike any I have ever seen in a pet store which made his abduction even sadder...

  3. In the 70s there used to be a huge snapping turtle who lived in the creek toward the far end of the park. Then the county dumped rip-rap around the banks to prevent erosion, paved a strip through the middle of the park, put up tacky plastic playground equipment, and generally loused up what used to be a wild and wonderful place.