As I was returning home, the other evening, I noticed a small Eastern Mud Turtle attempting to cross the lane. I stopped the car, picked the turtle up, and took him inside the house. I placed him in a large plastic uncovered container, along with some water and Turtle Food, for the night.
This was the first turtle of that species that I had ever seen. They are listed as "Endangered" in some states.
The following day, I took the turtle back outside, to photograph him in the sunlight. After seeing how he extended his neck so drastically, when handled, I nicknamed him "Stretch".
God really blesses me with a lot of cool critters to photograph.
This is a shot of the Mud Turtle in my hand, with his neck only one third extended.
Unfortunately, it proved impossible for me to get a clear photo when he fully stretched his neck out, and swung his head from side to side. Every shot was out of focus.
I released the little nocturnal turtle into the pond late last night. He swiftly kicked with both back legs and immediately swam away. I looked on sadly as his small, dark shell vanished below the murky surface. Several minutes passed, while I sat quietly with my bare feet on the lower ledge of the pond. Surprisingly, the turtle reappeared and crawled back up to me. He acted as if he didn't actually want to leave. I was elated, but deep inside I knew that he really belonged in the wild. I sat on the bank and talked to him for a while, then about an hour later, he finally went on his way.
Take care, Stretch.
|Eastern Mud Turtle|
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