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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The unexpected homely visitor

As I walked past a kitchen window this morning, my peripheral sense caught a color change.  A straight on focused gaze determined that a delinquent minion of nature had given us a genuine lawn job but it was hard to imagine a skunk or raccoon digging up a large mossy rock and walking away.

It initially looked like a spent meteorite at the end of its bite-the-dust furrow or a sketch by a UFO crash observer but it turned out to be alive and well. 

That is not one of nature's warm and fuzzy faces, even in my books.   I learned from a Missouri float trip that even their tiny offspring have a most surly disposition.   It is their ticket to surviving in a hard shell many sizes too small to protect them fully   Nonetheless, she was quite patient with us curious onlookers. 

Offspring was exactly what this unexpected visit was all about.  This snapping turtle had crawled up to sandy high ground to deposit her eggs into a quickly devised nest hole.

Her feet have dug out the trench but it is her bullwhip handle tail that is windshield-wipering the soil over the eggs as she inches forward.  

She is in her most vulnerable state right here so I kept the nosy predators at a distance. 

An hour or two later, this mossy-backed old gal had accomplished her mission and headed back to her wetland home.  In a couple of months or maybe even after an overwinter, her offspring will hatch out and instinctively follow her trail home.