“Turtle alert,” my wife yelled as she looked out the kitchen window to report a movement in our backyard. “Laziness on my part will spawn a second louder horn call,” Turtle Alert! “Should I foolishly ignore the call because I’m in some important function (like a video game), repeat the alert louder and faster so that it sounds like a ‘shit alert.’ The same happened with Hodor, a character from Game of Thrones who Sometimes he would get excited and repeat that he would keep a door closed.
Sure enough, a large freshwater turtle, with burnt orange diamond-shaped markings on its shell, was patrolling our lawn. Very often, he craned his neck to gain more reach and support his search for the elusive mushroom, a backyard delicacy he craves. However, a steady light rain will transform this armored gourmet into a “stud tortoise.” We can only speculate that rain acts as an aphrodisiac in our water turtles. More of them leave the woods to play in our backyard during a light rain, and we learn the purpose of nature as the males comically mount the females.
Probably, on sunny days, we will only see male sea turtles. So anything but social, they behave as if they were defending the territory in those days, or they react to a perceived theft of property. “Hey, that other turtle ate my mushroom!” They rarely fight. The bigger ones will run towards the smaller ones, who will quickly drag it in a different direction. However, on rare occasions, two large turtles will participate in a staring contest. Their proximity seems like a measure of resolution. His art of war: serious look, serious lack of movement and the tension in the air enters the house to affect my wife.
“What are they doing now?” She becomes restless during a Hallmark Romance chick flick. Unable to enjoy his show, he wears down the carpet to collect more turtle reports. Sometimes the turtles’ gaze war will last for hours before it appears that there is a restructuring of the territory. Then we see each of the greats patrol a different lawn in our backyard … unless a mushroom comes into play.
Our sea turtles are happy additions to our backyard animal visitors, which also include squirrels, rabbits, moles, the occasional red-tailed hawk, a deer, and, more rarely, a wild turkey. At night, different animals start their turn: raccoons, foxes, possums and owls. But our warning of seeing other wild animals, “I see nature”, seems to imply that water turtles have a special place in our lives. Glad the Australian Fitzroy River Turtles are not visiting us. They breathe through the butt, something I’ve put on my “never want to see” list. # TAG1writer