The adventuresome life of a Great Pyrenees/Newfoundland dog in Northwestern Ontario

Posts tagged ‘Snapping Turtles’

UFOs & Aliens?

I guess all of you my faithful readers have been wondering if I was abducted by aliens, eh?

Well… No. But I had a close encounter yesterday!

We were just heading off for our early morning walk. I reached the end of the wooden path when I noticed something very peculiar:

Could they be Crop Circles?

Could they be Crop Circles?

As a Bookshop Dog, I have developed a very open and scientific mind. I’ve heard about this phenomenon two-leggers call ‘Crop Circles’. The theory is that these things are made by alien spacecraft when they land or take off. Elizabeth knows a lady who says she knows the people who made the original Crop Circles in Britain, though, and that the whole alien thing is a hoax. I decided to see who was right. I took a closer look at one.

Certainly looks like something was spinning here...

Certainly looks like something was spinning here…

As a dog, I have an advantage over two-leggers. I have a sensitive and highly developed olfactory system. I have a nose for detection. And I detected a new-to-me but definitely animal scent trail. Well. I guess that technically, Aliens are probably animals too. Only one thing to do… follow my nose to the source.

I nearly bumped into this:

Yikes! It looks like a Stegosaurus tail!

Yikes! It looks like a Stegosaurus tail!

I checked it out from another angle.

Look at those claws!

Look at those claws!

But when I backed up and got some perspective, it turned out to be

the rear end of a Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina)!

the rear end of a Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina)!

The Snapping Turtle is the largest of Ontario turtles and can live up to 70 two-legger years or more. I can’t imagine living that long! They are not endangered, but they are on the watch list. They have a low reproductive rate and take a long time to mature. And two-leggers, well, some of them, like to hunt and eat them. Or just to kill them because they think they are mean old ugly things.

Once Elizabeth was invited to have some by one of the lake people she knew. She almost tried some, but when the old man mentioned that he kept them in his freezer and that they took an awfully long time to die, she just couldn’t accept any. She doesn’t really like these turtles, but they fascinate her.

This one fascinated me, too.

Snapping Turtle 1 miniI felt I had to examine it from all angles.

Snapping Turtle 3 miniAlthough she looks shy in Elizabeth’s photographs, she wasn’t really. This is a very aggressive stance, as I found out.

See how her rear end is slightly elevated?

See how her rear end is slightly elevated?

This female had made the trek up from our bay to find a place to lay her eggs. She needed to get the job done, and I guess she thought I was trying to interfere. Suddenly, she reared up on her hind legs and tail, and her head shot forward at me! She tried to snap my nose off!

Fortunately, I didn’t know her, so I was being a bit cagey myself. I managed to avoid her lunge. I thought it was very rude of her, and I began to move in to teach her a lesson. One does not snap at the Queen of the Boreal Forest without suffering the consequences!

Elizabeth grabbed my collar and took me for a little walk. I’m still ticked off with her. She shouldn’t interfere with me when I’m on the job. This was obviously a very dangerous turtle. It needed first to be taught a lesson and, second, to be banished to its watery domain.

When we got back from our walk, she was just about the same place. Elizabeth didn’t notice until she was looking at the photos today that it appears to be blood on the right side of her carapace. While I don’t condone her behaviour, neither do I wish her any harm. I hope she makes it through laying her eggs and back through the forest, down the hill and into the river again.

She does have rather lovely little eyes...

She does have rather lovely little eyes…

Elizabeth put me in the house and then went out to talk to the turtle and get some more pictures of her. By the time we had to leave for Church, the turtle seemed much more relaxed.

This is the only one Elizabeth took with her telephoto lens. The turtle didn't snap at her when she got her camera in close for the facial portraits! Hmmph.

This is the only one Elizabeth took with her telephoto lens. The turtle didn’t snap at her when she got her camera in close for the facial portraits! Hmmph.

When we got home, the Snapping Turtle had continued her uphill quest in search of sandy soil deep enough for her to make a nest for her eggs and cover them in such a way that no one would ever guess they were there. Maybe I will meet some of the baby turtles after they hatch and begin their journey down the hill to the bay….

Danger in the Depths!

Some days are just so lovely. Thursday started off like that.

Elizabeth took me on a ride first thing, and we dropped off the garbage and the recycling for pick-up at the Big Gravel Path. After breakfast, she pumped up the deflated wheelbarrow tire so she could start taking her hot peppers from the balcony garden down to the  Greenhouse, which is actually brown until you step inside and see all the plants Kay has in there!

We haven’t had frost yet, but we’ve had several warnings. Elizabeth still has a lot to do before she’s ready for frost.

On the way in to get the first pepper plants, Elizabeth was distracted by the Kibble Snatcher family. While she was hand feeding them, a stranger Growly Beast came into our driveway.

Kay and Elizabeth seemed to be expecting the fellow who got out of it. They knew who he was, anyway. He’d come to go for a swim.

Odd. It was pretty cool for two-leggers to be swimming. The two-legger pups next door didn’t go last weekend. But, oh, well… I’m always happy to make a new friend. If he swims, so much the better!

I was all ready to take him down to Al and Joanne’s dock, where the two-leggers all like to swim from. Elizabeth had just come up from taking the first load of pepper plants down the hill, and the man asked her where the best place to go in would be.

While we had been down the hill, he’d changed into his swimming fur. I’d never seen anything like it! But I was too polite to say anything. Besides, I kinda liked him. He was a good ear-scratcher.

We walked down the hill again, this time taking the path to Al and Joanne’s dock. But instead of turning that way, we headed straight on down to the water’s edge. He sat down on a rock and made a few adjustments to his swimming fur and then began to walk out into the water. He sort of lay down on the surface, like two leggers do when they go swimming. And then he disappeared!

Elizabeth ran up the hill. I stayed down at the shore waiting for him to come up again.

I waited.

I waited.

He didn’t come back up.

Okay, so there are the bubbles. But he isn't coming up for more air!

Where did he go? Something’s gone very wrong here…

I found this very distressing. I didn’t know what to do. I paced along the shore calling him to come back.

But he was gone.

Elizabeth returned. I thought she’d gone for help. She had actually gone for her camera.

Noticing how distressed I was, she sat down quite calmly on a rock beside me. “He’s okay, Stella. Look! See those bubbles? That’s Dave! That’s where he is. See? There they are again. That’s him!”


Okay. We have a bubble blurp. Still no Dave, though. I don’t think a two-legger can hold much more air in their lungs. He’s been down there an awfully long time. He needs HELP!

I didn’t care what she was saying. Diver Dave was in trouble. And I didn’t see how I could help him.

Yup. See what I mean?

Yup. See what I mean? He’s drowning!

Then I saw him!

What on earth is going on? Something's got a hold of Diver Dave!

What on earth is going on? Something’s got a hold of Diver Dave!

I ran over to another spot where I thought maybe I could get to him faster.

My Newfie genes were screaming, “RESCUE HIM! RESCUE HIM!”

As you know, though, the other 3/4 of me is Great Pyrenees. “WAIT! You don’t know what that is out there, and you can’t get to something that’s underwater. What if it comes out and goes after Elizabeth and you’re caught out in the bay when it attacks her? STAY AND GUARD ELIZABETH!”

I was so conflicted...

I am so conflicted…

Just as I am about to jump in,

Diver Dave emerges, victorious!

Diver Dave emerges, victorious!

As he rose out of the depths, he said to Elizabeth, “There’s a big turtle down there… if you want some soup!”

Big turtle? It must have been GARGANTUAN!

He seemed a bit tired as he came out. I noticed that he stumbled a bit as he waded back into shore. But he seemed quite nonchalant. As we walked back up the hill to the house, he was talking quite casually to Elizabeth about witches’ hats and putting a few rocks on this one to weight it down, how there was a lot of heavy algae at the same level as the pump, how he’d checked the pump and everything was okay…. He didn’t seem rattled at all by his horrific encounter.

I knew there were turtles in our bay. I had no idea there was a witch down there, too. Witches. Giant turtles….

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go swimming again!

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