Nose-to-nose with a snapping turtle? What would you do?

She’s on to something!

I’ve never seen a baby snapping turtle before this past weekend. But I can thank Grace for the experience.

My husband and I were enjoying a quiet afternoon by the small river that runs behind our property (some people call it a creek, I refer to it as a river as it technically is, but even I will admit it’s not the Mississippi); Grace was meandering around as she often does looking for frogs at the water’s edge or sometimes checking out the side yard where the groundhog frequents. I looked behind me to check on her and watched her as she circled something I couldn’t see.

It’s amazing how something so small can be so scary.

She wasn’t barking but she was definitely fixated on something. I figured it was a small garter snake. But she kept circling versus following something moving in a line. I have a bit of phobia about snakes but I was dying to find out what she was watching. I didn’t really want to see a snake. So I said to my husband: “Aren’t you interested to see what she’s after?”

He, being the kind-hearted soul that he is, realized I wanted to know what it was, got up and approached Grace. “It’s a turtle,” he said.

“WHAT??” I said.

“A turtle.”

Despite her macho posture, if that baby moved, she would have been outta there.

O.K. That got my attention. With both us now standing around her prize, Grace got more excited and started barking with a piercing yelp. When I saw the tiny size of the turtle, I figured it must be very frightened to have two looming humans and a loud, bouncing dog glaring at him. I told Grace that she’s scaring the baby, but she didn’t seem to care because she continued her barking.

A little more confident with reinforcements nearby

We watched for a few minutes. I was amazed that this miniature turtle was in our backyard. “Where is his mother? Aren’t they BIG?” I asked. Pete laughed.

I’ll help get him out of here.

When Pete went to pick this little guy up (of course I have no idea if this was a male or female turtle), he clung to the grass blades. Isn’t it funny how we all hang on to something that is familiar even though letting go may be the best thing for us?

We walked to the river and Pete gently placed him on a rock at the river’s edge and with a blink of the eye, he had dashed into his comfortable home in the water.

As employees and managers, we often cling to the familiar, even if it’s not to our advantage. I certainly can’t fault an adorable young hatchling for hanging on the grassy blades as a defense mechanism.

But it was symbolic for how all of us cling to where we are. Grace, so fearful of ANYTHING new, worries at the thought of any change. Many of us find ways to stay with a common routine or resist the opportunity to try a new approach, or even refuse to have an open mind to a different viewpoint about something in our lives. Others may embrace change, but do you find ways to effectively bring along your colleagues who need more time to adjust?

I barely had time to get the camera out; this is the last second we saw the baby turtle before he fled to a familiar place.

According to Wikipedia, snapping turtles have “fierce” dispositions; however, when encountered in the water, they usually slip quietly away from any disturbance. Don’t we all have a tendency to ‘bark’ when we’re out of our comfort zone?

If we’re on familiar ground, don’t we have more tolerance and ability to maneuver around our “terrain” more comfortably? If we see someone in an uncomfortable spot, maybe we should give them more space (literally and figuratively) to find their way.

Without Grace, we would have never known that tiny turtle was in our yard. And if she hadn’t seen it, who knows if he would have made it back to the water safely. Grace and this little turtle found each other. They were scared of each other, even though she may have saved his life by alerting us to him.

It’s great to find new opportunities and then remember to embrace them.

I think we can all learn from that.

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4 comments

  1. wow Grace had a super adventure. I bet for a long time after this she is going to keep looking for more turtles. SO very cute. Its hard to recognise Grace in that first picture, it looks like a pic of a muscular pit bull. Interesting angle.

    “do you find ways to effectively bring along your colleagues who need more time to adjust?” Its good to keep in mind that new ideas, just like change, is always acompanied by an element of shock, often small, sometimes large.

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