Editor’s note: This post is a Care2 favorite. It was originally published on November 2, 2011. Enjoy!
By Anita Springer of Michigan (USA)
We live in a development of approximately 75 homes. Next to us was one undeveloped lot. One day I heard a commotion there and looked out to see about 10 adults and several more children yelling and cheering. Upon closer inspection, I noticed a huge snapping turtle on its back with its head flaying around to thwart off the sticks that were being used to poke at its head and legs. I went ballistic! I raced out there, yelling at the adults in the group.
“‘Don’t you adults realize what you are doing? You are teaching these children that it is okay to torture and torment an innocent, helpless animal who, in all likelihood, was there to dig a hole and bury its eggs.”
The crowd went silent as I quickly righted the turtle. I realized that I had no container to put the animal into, so I carefully picked it up two thirds of the way down from its head and held it out from my body (I know from past turtle rescue attempts that they will pee as a defense mechanism). I ended up, turtle in hand, sliding down the steep bank back to the river where I released it.
After I climbed back up, the crowd had dispersed, and except for telling my own adult children and my husband about the incident, I forgot all about it.
About five years later, our entire complex had a summer potluck which we attended. I knew few of the adults there as we both worked and had no small children to engage us with other parents. I went around and introduced myself to a group of about four couples. I said, “Hello, I am Anita Springer and we live at the end of this street.”
You Are the Turtle Lady!
One of the men said “No, you are not Anita Springer, you are ‘The Turtle Lady.’”
Evidently, he was one of the turtle harassers and his children have often reminded him of being careful with wildlife or the Turtle Lady would go after him. I can’t begin to tell you how gratified I was that I had succeeded in teaching a lesson that should have been unnecessary if parents had done their job.
When I relayed the incident to my son, he replied “My mom, the ‘closet radical’ for environmental and animal welfare has struck again.”
So now, in addition to this moniker, I can also proudly lay claim to fame as being a ‘Turtle Lady.”