I used to live in San Diego and wildlife out there is insane. At the park there were two rattle snakes just sitting there, about 100 yds from the jungle gym, sunning themselves. Coyotes hanging out in backyards, mountain lions going after joggers. It's just too much. I know the animals were there before us and I wish I were more capable of making my peace with them. I want them to live (even the snakes), I just don't want them to live with me. Or near me.
On to the story...
Saturday was Celebrate Fairfax. I really wanted to go see the Old Skool All Stars featuring Rob Bass, Naughty by Nature & The Sugar Hill Gang. We ran some errands, I visited a dear friend who was at the hospital with her son, a few more errands and by then we were beat. Alas, no Celebrate Fairfax. But how cool would that concert have been? Man - I'm old.
Instead we came home. As I was getting out of the car, the nighbor is stooping down and checking out something under her car.
Whatever did she see? I must go check it out and share in her curiosity.
She saw this. WTF is this?!?! Is Godzilla under the car? Turtle? Right? Do they get that big? Tortoise? I have no idea. Remember, I am NOT the wildlife guru. He made me fear for my toes.
Neighbor lady, I should know her name and I don't remember - I'm over it, are you? So neighbor lady said she called Animal Control and they blew her off. I thought maybe the Dept of Wildlife would be of more assistance. Not so much. They just said "Let him go wherever he is going." Really? Where would that be? In the middle of my court where a zillion kids are going to mess with him and possibly get hurt in case he is a snapper type of guy? Or perhaps he will stroll over to either of the 6 lane roads on both sides of my development. Not to mention how big he is - if he were on the road, someone might swerve, cause an accident or even become giant turtle roadkill. That would seriously gross me out. I figure he has been around for a long time, based on his size, and he deserves another shot at life. Living on my court is not that shot.
I post a pic on FB. A dear friend offers to let me bring him to her place and she has a stream and a huge pond back behind her place. Yay. Now, how do I get him there? I'm not touching the critter. No f'n way. Another neighbor lady (I don't know her name either and I'm still fine with it) is a vet tech or something of sorts. She picks him up, boxes him up and in the back of my car he goes.
IN TO THE BACK OF MY CAR PEOPLE!!! WTF have I gotten myself in to?
Oh, he is totally a snapper too. You know these guys can take of fingers and toes? My tootsies were afeared of him for good reason. I had on flip flops.
I head out on Operation Snapper Salvation. Well, about a mile away from my house, Mr Snapper must have thought the giant box was too restrictive and he got a little pi$$ed. He started kinda climbing. Did you see the nails he has - he can totally claw his way around. His weight against the side of the box combined with a turn here or there, you see where I'm going right? I hear the shuffling in the back (way back) of my SUV and look in the rearview.
Right there. In my rearview mirror. Giant Snapper head poking up. He is like higher than the backseat. I start freaking the hell out and my mind goes crazy with the following thoughts:
- Can he seriously climb? It's carpet back there, that would just give him traction.
- Why didn't I put him in a box with a lid?
- If he even touches the carseat it will be in the trash and a new one will be bought. Thems not cheap folks.
- Can he get to me? Like how much farther is my friends place vs how far he is away from me. Who will get to their destination sooner?
- WTF DO I DO!!!!!
I pull up and retrieve said friend. She looks in the window, he has totally gotten out of the box and is facing the tailgate. His face - facing the tailgate. His face, where his mouth is. The snaping mouth. Now what? I get in the backseat and start poking his butt with an umbrella (it's in the trash) and I lift up the pool noodle he is laying on (sorry Cheryl, you're not getting that back - in the trash it went) all in an effort to nudge him in the general direction of the giant box that my friend is holding.
Then we carry him way out behind her house and set him free. Off he goes. I hope he likes it there.
There is a tiny part of me that feels bad for taking them there. There are kids all over the place. I hope he stays in the water and nobody messes with him. Snapper has been on the earth longer than most of us, I would hate to know that urban sprawl has claimed another life.
But most of all I am thankful he is not around my house any more.
Everyone has told me this will get funny over time. I'm still skeeved. And this coming weekend, I am taking the car to get the back shampooed. There are turtle cooties everywhere.