The Great Turtle Rescue

When you have a houseful of boys, you never know what kind of adventures you are going to have. Our most recent adventure included 2 of the boys and an amphibian.

Last month, the boys and I had gone down to my mom and dad’s house the first full week (6/17 thru 6/21) after school ended. When we got home that Friday, the younger boys immediately took off out back to play with the dogs. A few minutes later, I heard yells from the back yard…”Mom, mom, mom, you’ve gotta see this.” With my boys, they could be calling me to see anything from a tiny bug to some big freakin’ disaster. So, I headed out back to see what they had found and came face to face with a big box turtle who we promptly dubbed Raphael after my favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.
DSCN3761I couldn’t figure out how the hell he’d gotten into our yard but I figured that if there was a way in then there must be a way out and I told the boys to leave him alone. I honestly didn’t figure that Raphael would hang around for that long since there isn’t easy access to water in our yard. Of course, the boys couldn’t wait to tell Vic about what they found and called him at work.  Gabe and Joey thought it was extremely cool when Vic told them he had seen the turtle a few days earlier.

Fast forward to last weekend…we hadn’t seen Raphael in weeks so we thought he had escaped the back yard but we were wrong. It was time to mow the lawn and Marty had mowed the front so I volunteered to mow the back since Joey is out of commission with a broken arm. On my first pass around the yard, I almost ran into Raphael. I was really surprised to see him still hanging around. Raphael had been in our back yard for over a month but he moved away from the mower pretty damned quickly so I wasn’t worried.

DSCN3854But, on Wednesday, Joey came in and said he was worried about Raphael. He said the shell was really hot and he was worried that Raphael couldn’t get out to water. Turtle rescue time was on. Joey grabbed a box and I went out back and grabbed Raphael. The first time I picked up Raphael, he started moving his legs and startled me. Luckily, he wasn’t far off the ground and only dropped about 2 inches when he scared me. I tried again and we boxed up the turtle. Gabe, Joey, Raphael, and I  headed out for North Cary Park and the nearest stream. I’m pretty sure Raphael wasn’t happy about being in the box because we could hear him moving around and occasionally he would bang the side of the box.

We got to the park and headed down to the stream. I’d guess it took us about ten minutes or so to walk down to the stream but I might have over-estimated the time it took because it was so damned humid that day.

Joey was charged with freeing Raphael…
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…and he put him down right near the water.
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Raphael took off like he was trying to win a race. Frankly, I’ve never seen a turtle move that fast. I think Joey was right to be concerned and I think that Raphael had been reaching his desperation point. He made a beeline for the water.

When we last saw Raphael, he was swimming around
and seemed to be enjoying his new home.
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The boys were quite happy and kind of thrilled that they got a chance to rescue an animal. I hope they always remember to take care of creatures smaller and more vulnerable than them.

4 Responses to The Great Turtle Rescue
  1. Battynurse
    July 28, 2013 | 4:42 am

    Very cool that the rescue included release to his natural home! I know as a kid I had a major tendency to want to take the animal home and it didn’t usually do anything for their survival. I have no idea how many times a bird died in a box.

  2. Justine
    July 28, 2013 | 2:32 pm

    So sweet! I love this story! So many other kids would want to put it in a box and keep it … you must have given them a deeper respect for small creatures, that this was their first response!
    Justine recently posted..HappyMy Profile

  3. a
    July 28, 2013 | 9:48 pm

    Nice job – way to go Dragondreamer boys! Excellent job of being in tune with nature…

    We were eating our lunch outside at my MIL’s house today, when baby squirrels started dropping out of the giant oak tree in her back yard. My husband gathered them up in a bucket, while we pondered what to do with them. He was going to bring them home and raise them, but they freaked him out too much. Every time he would pick one up, it would wriggle and claw the glove. So, we couldn’t get any liquids into them. Eventually, after consulting with the neighbor (who’s very outdoorsy), we just put them back under the tree and hoped their mom would find them and take them back to the nest. Unfortunately, it’s possible that outdoorsy neighbor also trapped their mom this morning, so they might be some animal’s dinner. Sometimes, it’s best not to mess with nature.
    a recently posted..GRAB(ook) Club: The Fault In Our StarsMy Profile

  4. Shell
    August 12, 2013 | 3:16 pm

    At least they let it go- I could see my boys wanted to keep a turtle! They already like to try to catch frogs and keep them.
    Shell recently posted..The Social Media PassMy Profile

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