My good deed of the week. Last night, driving home from work, I saw a Florida box turtle (photo) attempting to cross Hiawassee Road near a park. I can't imagine where he (she?) thought he was going, since he was actually leaving the safety of the park grounds.
So I pulled over in the right-turn lane, put my blinkers on, and went running back down the road like a crazy woman. That turtle was hauling his little turtle butt across the highway. When I passed him he was in the turn lane. As I was doing my lame sprint toward him, he was already in the right-hand traffic lane. Fortunately, the next car saw him (or saw loony me, and then the turtle) and moved over to the left lane to miss him.
Then a van came along in the left lane -- which was where the turtle was by this time. Man, that little guy could move! The van stopped dead in the road in front of the turtle, and I could see the driver leaning forward over his steering wheel to look at this turtle. I ran across the street, picked up the turtle, waved to the van driver, and crossed back to the park side with turtle in my hands.
I know some people say you should take turtles in the direction they were going, but there was nothing on the other side of the street but stores and houses. Not turtle-friendly.
So I looked at the turtle, and said to him, "Hey, you almost got tiddly-winked there." He just sucked into his shell. I've never held a box turtle that sucked into his shell before. Box turtles have a hinge on their bottom shell, so they can close up tighter. I could feel the bottom plate move when he did it. He stared back at me with his beady eyes.
I returned him to the grassy weeds at the edge of the park. I hope he'll stay there. He had some numbers painted on his shell in copper-colored paint, so somebody must be keeping track of him.