Helping your elders across the road

I helped this gentleman across the road today. I don’t actually know how old this particular fella is, but even a quick google will confirm that turtles as a species have been on earth waaaaaaaaa*breath*aaaaaaaay longer than homo sapiens have. Think hundreds of millions of years. Compared to turtles, humans are but whippersnappers.

I can assure you there is a turtle tucked away in that shell, because when I spotted it, its head and front limbs were out, and it was headed across the road. It was a fairly quiet road, but I still pulled over and helped it finish its crossing. Always in the direction the turtle is already headed. Though it can be tempting, don’t second guess the turtle… they know where they want to go. If folks try to reset them, or aim them somewhere “better”, the turtle will just do the turtle equivalent of a beleaguered sigh (do turtles sigh?) and slowly head back to exactly where they were going the first time. Only this time, from further away.

The reason I say this turtle is a mister is a pretty excellent turtle fun fact. Male painted turtles have extra long claws on their front feet. They use them to stroke the female’s face during courting. And this young man had claws for miles. Were I a lady turtle, I might be blushing.


Turtles always strike me as devastatingly serious. If turtles could talk, I’d believe everything they said.

Erin O’Brien