On my way to work the last few days I’ve spotted turtles walking across roads directly in the line of traffic. I’ve also seen the squished remains of a turtle or two.
Sometimes I stop and help a turtle along.Other residents do the same. But the turtle crossing I-30 this morning while cars zipped past at 70 mph was on his own.
Why would a turtle leave the soft, wet, comfortable earth and embark on a death-defying adventure across hard pavement? What do they hope to find?
I could call a herpetologist, but instead I drove around until I saw a turtle crossing the road and interviewed him directly. His name was Tom.
Fort Worth Weekly: So why have I been seeing so many turtles crossing the road recently?
TOM: It’s spring, baby, and you know what that means. I’ve got she-turtles to court, and territory to claim. Then the old lady will nest and eventually have baby turtles. It’s called the circle of life. Der. Get out much?
FWW: Aren’t there just as many turtles on one side of the road as the other?
TOM: You sound like a eunuch. Haven’t you ever had the urge to look for love no matter where it leads?
FWW: You’re a romantic?
TOM: Let’s put it this way: If you put me in your car, drive me somewhere else, and let me back out, I will spend the rest of my days looking for my home range. And if I can’t find it, I will wander aimlessly, forever. You don’t want that on your conscience.
FWW: Well, what’s the proper way to help a turtle cross the road?
TOM: If you can do so safely, simply park your car, turn on your hazard lights, wait until there’s no traffic, and then pick me up on either side of my shell. Place me on the side of the road in the direction that I was headed, and then bid me good travels.
FWW: Any other advice?
TOM: Yes, beware of snapping turtles. If you see a long tail, it might be a snapper. Those guys are like pit bulls with shells. Rather than pick them up, you might be better off just pushing them gently along with a broom or something.
FWW: Why would they snap someone trying to help them?
TOM: These aren’t mutant ninja turtles, moron. Their brains are the size of a garbanzo bean. For all they know you’re a raccoon or snake that’s after them.
FWW: You seem kind of irritable.
TOM: Well, one minute I’m on my way to a hot date, and the next I’m being picked up and interviewed by a guy with a bad haircut. How would you feel?
FWW: I’ll just set you down here on the side of the road and bid you farewell, then.
TOM: That’s the smartest thing you’ve done yet. Now, I’m off to see my lady love. And eat some bugs.