Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Second tale of a turtle tail...U haul trailers

Ya'll are so patient with me and my idiot tales. Thanks for the compliments and letting me know that you have a laugh or two. It's a thriller I tell ya, minus the one sparkly glove.

After getting my rescued turtles, I knew from friends who had "tried" to keep turtles that we had to secure the yard to make sure they wouldn't be able to get out. Because who wants another call from a frightened neighbor, screaming come get the moving rock...... And turtles are wanderers. It's their main job right after making like u-haul trailers (it's what a kid in the neighborhood called mating turtles one time. I just thought it was so cute.)

Male turtles come out of hibernation first. Here in New Mexico it is about mid to late April. Some years they are walking around in snow, it is so weird. They keep their hidey holes but wander when the sun is out. The males do not eat much of anything until late May. They are still working on the fat stored for hibernation. The only thing they are interested in is ...bring on the women. They try to hook up with anything that moves, which can if you sit outside and watch them for any length of time be: other male turtles, rocks, your feet, gardening shoes. You know what testosterone does to a male brain...scrambled thinking.

The females bide their time, stay close to their hidey holes and don't come out of hibernation until mid May to early June. So you see why the males are shacking up with shoes and such. When they do come out, all hell breaks loose. There are two headed, u-haul making, spinning around and leaving mini crop circles in the grass couplings going on everywhere. If the males are not "skilled at the art of hooking up", literally, the females bite the dickens out of them, thus the circling action. I can't tell if it is "honey come here or oh no she's gonna bite me", sometimes. One of our dogs made herself sick, every year, by barking at the mating turtles. We would have to keep her in the house, she'd get so upset or jealous, I'm not sure which. This mating lasts for about two weeks and then they kinda just look at each other, take a good sniff and pass on by. (Turtles do not see very well but they have excellent hearing and sense of smell. They actually can hear bugs coming but can't tell male or female without a sniff. Or so I was told by the professor I assisted on a turtle project in southern New Mexico. Yep you guess it another tale for another time).

All is peaceful for the most part except for the testosterone variety, who will "throw down". It's a male dominance thing. They will pick up a front leg and be three legged contenders for the world championship turtle bad ass. They then hurl themselves at each other and bite the crap outta whateva they blindly hit. Lots of bloody faces, limbs and then it's over until the fall when they do it all again. Mating, throw downs and crop circles, all over again.

And because of all this.....I get baby turtles.

And in the mean time they all just wander. We have a path around our back yard. Actually two. One on the lower level where most of the shrubbery and planting is, which means good crawly things for them to eat, especially snails. They always have the cutest green smiles in snail season. I know ewwwwww. But you should see how ferocious they are when stalking a snail. It is a riot. You'd think they were lions the way they stay still, wait for the perfect moment and then lurch. Anyway back to the paths. On the upper level there is a gardening shed, which they hide behind, a hot tub, which they hide behind and the porch. This is where they sit and wait for cantalope, strawberries, bananas, apples and dog treats. It is a sight to see 8 or 9 adult turtles just hanging out waiting for the cafeteria to open. Momma turtle would even scratch on the back door if I was late to hand out the goodies. Now, the Queen turtle, who is one of Momma's baby's does the scratching.

Sometimes, I thought of them as being little green and brown trick or treaters. Had visions of what costumes, which turtle would need. Oh no, TMI, you're gonna call the white jacket people huh?

I will leave you again today scratching your head and pondering why anyone would have this much info on turtles????