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turtle rescue...

Friday, October 21, 2016
...occurred when I was driving back from south GA on Wednesday afternoon. Out there in the piney woods, where there are many low-lying areas that never fully dry up. Thickets of dense shrubs that are always standing in water. Swampy places that look like solid firmament, but are actually watery bogs covered with green pond scum.

When I was driving down a country road, following a line of vehicles traveling about 23 mph. We were all stuck behind several trailers full or recently harvested peanuts., I noticed a huge turtle along the verge. Nearing the edge of the paving, slowly scootching through in the weeds. I made a U-turn and went back to inspect. He was enormous. A dusty black gopher tortoise, with scaly legs and sharp claws, perfectly designed for digging in the loose sandy soil of the coastal plains. Quite determined to cross the highway, which was fortunately not well traveled. He would not be deterred, so I picked him up and transported him across the rural highway. Deposited safely into the tree line on the far side of the ditch.

Sadly, like trying to herd cats, I suspect he merely turned around to start trundling back up the hill and slowly make his way onto the asphalt, returning from whence he came. He weighed about twenty pounds, and could have been a long lived patriarch.  I have heard they can live to be over a hundred years old, living in the sandy burrows they dig. The burrows  can support an entire community of wildlife, supplying shelter for a variety of animals that live in the flat lands of the south.

I hope I did a good deed and he will survive being 'helped' across the road, move on into the scrubby, shrubby lands of the pines.Hope that he will live long and prosper, stay off the roadways to create generations more of that very vital part of the food chain. Provided of course he finds someone who wants to be married to a wise old, dusty, black tunneling tortoise.

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