(Red-eared sliders in Tennessee, Texas Gopher Tortoise, and Loggerhead Sea Turtle in North Carolina)
One of my favorite things about spring is turtles. Turtles! I've always loved them, all of them. I have little notes of when I was a wee child writing about "tretols." Growing up on a small lake, I'd find baby Red-eared Sliders in April and May all over the place. I'd see adults laying eggs and heading back to the lake. I'd go on daily missions (usually several times a day) to look for babies crossing the road and save them. I still do this when I'm home, obviously. I've saved hundreds and hundreds of turtles in the road. I saved my first one this year a couple days ago. So glad the little guy is safe now.
(baby Arizona Mud Turtle and Loggerhead Sea Turtle below)
Anyway. Turtles. I love all of them, even those badass snappers. I've found sliders covered in leeches and picked them off with tweezers for 3 straight hours. Gross. But it was obvious that she was thankful. I saw the look in her eye and I found her again a few days later, sunning herself. And she looked so much happier without the stupid leeches bothering her.
(Me with a Loggerhead who had just finished laying 84 eggs. She had been out of the water for more than 4 hours and started going the wrong way - not towards the ocean. I had to round up some people and help turn her around. Seeing her finally reach the ocean was a pretty cool experience. I had spent almost 5 hours with her at that point. Below is a Snapping Turtle I saw a couple weeks ago in Tennessee)
(Below: Texas Gopher Tortoise at Laguna Atascosa)
In 2005, I got to work with sea turtles (my spirit animal) on the Outer Banks. There were mainly Loggerheads, some Leatherbacks and Hawksbills too. This was my first field gig and I was hooked. I found nests and relocated them to safer places. I got to see the moms digging the nests and laying eggs. The word "amazing" is overused but this...this was pretty amazing stuff. I adore these animals.
(Loggerhead with her crawl above, below Red-eared Slider)
I could talk about my love of all things turtles and tortoises for days, but I'll keep it brief. They're awesome, they just can't help it. I get all giddy and goofy when I find turtles. I advice you to do the same. And help 'em across the road! One of the redeeming things about Mississippi is that there are a ton of different species of turtles. I gotta snap up my identification skills! Weekend Reflections Watery Wednesday Outdoor Wednesday Nature Notes
(Below: Me with 2 unidentified turtles in Mississippi, Snapping Turtle in TN and a 3-legged Slider in TN)