Broken Shell, Broken Heart

Every May I look forward to seeing snapping turtles laying their eggs on the edge of the Mount Vernon Trail. Snappers are big. Their shells are about the size of a dinner plate. If you get you fingers near their mouths, you won’t have them for long.

Last week I saw a baby snapping turtle. It looked just like an adult but its shell was only about as big as a 50 cent piece.

Today, I saw an adult snapper next to the trail. It didn’t register in my mind until I had ridden past it. I stopped and walked back only to see something horrible. The turtle was alive but in obvious distress, it’s shell cracked just behind its head. I have no idea how this happened but my guess is that it was run over by a car.

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I was relieved to see that it was gone when I rode past this evening.

About an hour later, my daughter and I were driving to dinner in Old Town. About a half mile from where I saw this turtle, I saw another one at the edge of the George Washington Memorial Parkway. It had been run over and looked like it was dead.

I really wanted to see some snapper turtles this spring. Now I am not so sure.