Thursday, May 23, 2013

Chelonian Crossing - Snapper on the Move!

Since Mother's Day, seems we and Hunter have crammed every nook and cranny of "free" time with thousands of really cool words and definitions in final preparation for the Scripps National Spelling Bee in D.C. next week. Somehow he managed to squeeze in a soccer tournament in Statesville over the weekend, and as we returned home through intermittent showers, we paused briefly to assist this lovely lady across the road.

May is the month in North Carolina when female snapping turtles are on the move, leaving their aquatic homes just long enough to lay their eggs, then returning to the friendly confines of their local stream, pond or lake. 

Kudos to Jay for snapping these photos, which in spite of the "zoom" lens still required strong nerves to nab a shot like this one...

In honor of Hunter's pending departure for this year's Bee, the more mundane "turtle" has been replaced in the title of today's post by "chelonian," a word Hunter encountered and successfully spelled live on stage at a previous Bee.   This particular chelonian, Chelydra serpentina, has been doing its thing in North America for millions of years, but the advent of automobiles and paved highways has made the egg-laying season a bit more hazardous in recent years.

This gal appears to have had enough of the paparazzi, and decides to enlighten us a bit as to the origins of her common name. Being rather attached to all our digits, and having assisted her across the most immediate strip of asphalt in her path, we leave this remarkable animal and the "roly poly" exploring the leading edge of her carapace to complete their journey without us. 

As you travel the roads in your neck of the woods over the next few weeks, please be alert for chelonians crossing, and at the very least, slow down and give them a wide berth as they make their way home. 

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