The Loon Whisperer

Loon Whisperer Photo WIR COLUMN-grayby Terry Uhde Otto

The Great Turtle Rapture of 1968….

I noticed the first one crossing the road just outside of Pelican Rapids. I gasped as the right front wheel of my son’s Camry missed her by inches. A few miles farther north, I spotted what looked from a distance to be a large hub cap in the other lane. Then, near Park Rapids, there was another enormous one that had met her fate.

It is turtle swerving season in Minnesota once more.

Between Fergus Falls and home, I counted almost two dozen turtles crossing the highway. I am happy to report that we were not responsible for murdering any of them even though the first one was really just lucky. When I see turtles squashed on the road I’m always puzzled. After all, how hard is it to avoid a turtle, for crying out loud? It isn’t as if they line up in the tall grass along the highway, wait for a car to approach and then dart out just for kicks! You almost have to want to hit a turtle.

Last weekend I took the dog for a walk up at the lake. Maggie isn’t impressed with turtles in the slightest and so, even when we came upon one laying eggs, she refused to make eye contact and just snuffled past, minding her own business. Being a momma turtle looks like a lot of work to me. All that digging of holes with your back legs takes forever, for one thing. Then you lay a bunch of eggs and have to push all the sand you just dug out back into the hole. And then, after you’ve spent like an entire afternoon working, you still have to try to make back to the river without getting squashed along the way. Then, there’s a very high probability that a skunk is going to show up as just soon as the moon rises to dig your eggs up and eat them before your eggs even get to be actual turtles.

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