Sunday, May 27, 2012
Why did the turtle cross the road?
I spotted this one on a country road on Friday and stopped to move him as I usually do with turtles when possible. Carrying him across as he was heading put him on the edge of a vast newly plowed field, pretty inhospitable to turtles, so I carried him back into the woods from where he came. This may not have been the thing to do, I learned later, as they tend to stick with whatever directional input they are receiving. It could be a half hour later he was crossing the road again.
With all our maps, local and global, and now, GPS devices it is hard to imagine navigating your path given just the visual input of the next three feet. How does a turtle stay within his "home zone"? How does he have any sense of his acre?
I think they have an endearing thoughtful look so it's no wonder that every kid who finds one wants to take it home. This is not a good idea. Most wild turtles brought into captivity die well before their time even if released later.