Wild Thang

My daughter is rarely bored out here on the farm. There is always SOMETHING to do to keep her busy, whether it’s stomping through the woods, climbing trees, building forts or hunting for critters, a little curiosity goes a long way. Her favorite season, like mine, is spring, when everything starts waking up and moving around. One of her favorite past-times in the spring is turtle and frog hunting in the pond and creek.

She has never been able to get one of the great big snapping turtles that live in the pond. They are way too fast and disappear beneath the water before she even gets close.

Finally, this weekend she got one and I was pretty sure her head was going to pop right off she was so ecstatic.

Yes, that poor grumpy, algae-covered snapper is in a net. A fishing net. He weighed nearly 20 pounds and was on the extra-cranky side, even for a snapper. Snappers tend to be quite defensive out of the water and can be dangerous and really don’t give a rat’s patootie what they are snapping at when they start striking away. Those beak-like jaws are capable of snapping a finger right off or taking off a big chunk of flesh and when they get something crushed in those jaws, convincing them to let go is rarely successful. For a big turtle that appears to be slow, those jaws are lightning-fast, especially when they are in grumpy-defensive leave-me-alone mode.

This one was especially cranky. I imagine he just woke up from his winter hibernation and was looking forward to a good first meal when Kayleigh snuck up on him and snagged him in the net. I’d probably be kind of grumpy too if someone crammed me in a net and lugged me up the driveway to plunk me on the deck for all to see.

Of course, she had to keep him around until her friend came over and could see him. She was quite proud of her lucky catch.

So, poor Mr. Grumpy Pants got pulled out of the net and put in an unused rabbit cage. As soon as he was in there he started lunging and snapping at the bars and promptly grabbed onto one of them, refused to let go and bent it.

ImageHe was not a happy camper during his short time with us, but, when Kayleigh refused to let me turn Mr. Grumpy Pants into soup, he had to go back to the pond. This time he traveled in style: He took the Wheelbarrow Express back to the pond where he was tipped unceremoniously back into the drink.

Once he was safely back in the pond, I told Kayleigh to leave the big snappers IN the pond because they are too dangerous to be toting around in fishing nets. Unless, of course, she plans to eat one and is bringing it home for the soup pot.

Snappers that size also explain why ducks avoid raising their ducklings on our pond! I’ll bet ducklings don’t live for very long with those huge jaws on the prowl.

I hope he’s a bit smarter about kids with nets and at least got a good meal or two to ease that super-cranky attitude!

Ahhh…life is good. The adventure never ends!

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