Tiny turtle

While on a trip with my family to a National Seashore an extraordinary thing happened. We were walking along the beach, the waves were crashing in around our feet. The water seemed to become more turbulent as the sun set. There were hungry sea gulls swarming the coastline diving and hunting for whatever the waves washed up. I looked down at my feet, and struggling against the current was a tiny turtle. I almost couldn’t believe what I was seeing, and immediately scooped it up. It was a freshly hatched diamond backed terrapin, still with it’s tiny white egg tooth, which it would have used to break out of the egg. We put the turtle with some water in a bucket and then had to decide what to do. If we returned it to the waterline on it’s intended journey it surely would soon be gobbled up. But it is illegal to interfere with wildlife much less remove it from a protected sanctuary. We decided to live dangerously and deprived a gull of an evening meal. We sneaked the hatchling off the island. The story’s happy ending is that we took care of the turtle for four years until he was big and robust. We returned him to the same wildlife seashore to a brackish water pond that was teaming with other diamond backed terrapins, and set him free. He didn’t hesitate, he slid right into the water and swam to a nearby log where another turtle was sunning itself.

Advertisements