Tank The Turtle And The Call Of Wild

Hello friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Tank The Turtle” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

Tank The Turtle lumbered through his tiny jungle of grass. He looked around and stretched his neck out as far as he could. The sunbeam had landed in just the right spot for him to warm up and knock off the chill from the night air. As the sun’s rays began to wash over him Tank felt a connection to his ancient ancestors. In his mind he was a living dinosaur! He just knew that his bloodlines included the mighty Ankylosaurs! Tank swished his stubby tail back and forth as he imagined that it had the hammer-like bulb that could smash any predators.

Tank envisioned himself plowing through the underbrush like a bulldozer. He felt the call of the Jurassic welling up inside him and opened his mouth to let go with a roar worthy of the dinosaurs! But all that came out was the hiss of a box turtle. Tank sank back into his shell for a moment. He was embarrassed by getting carried away and making a public spectical of himself. He only hoped that George the mallard hadn’t witnessed this. He knew that George would probably tease him a bit. Tank slowly poked his head out of his shell with one eye open. He was in luck. The ducks were all on the other end of lake.

By now the sunbeam had moved deeper into the bushes and was no longer warming Tank’s shell. Tank scooted across the road as fast as his stubby turtle legs would take him. He slid over the bank and down into the water where he floated a short way to the large flat rock. There he could sun himself most of day. Just as he settled into place he felt the presence of another box turtle. He wrenched his neck around to see who was there and was awestruck by the most beautiful girl turtle that he’d ever seen. Her shell glistened in the morning sun. She smiled as she nestled down next to him. “I’ve never seen a more impressive display than the one that you just had.” She said. Tank began to feel red all over. He was trying very hard not blush. Had she seen the embarrassing attempt to roar? The girl turtle continued to speak. ” You crossed the road like a champ. I didn’t know that our kind could move that fast!” In truth, Tank didn’t move very fast at all. Crossing the single lane road took at least ten minutes but in the turtle realm that was downright Olympian! Tank relaxed a little and thanked her for the compliment. As they talked they found out that they actually had a lot in common.

As the days went on the two turtles met on the rock every morning. Eventually they fell in love and lived the rest of their lives together. At the birth of their first brood she peeked out of the nest and caught Tank “roaring with his ancestors.” It was endearing to her as she recalled the first time she’d spotted him in the sunbeam.

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Battle Scars

In an ancient kingdom in a far away land the young recruits of the kings army gathered to meet the Man At Arms. It was his job to turn peasants into warriors. They were undisciplined . They wandered about the yard gawking at everything. They spoke in loud voices about irrelevant topics. They paid no attention to the surroundings. The Man At Arms raised his hand and gave a sign to the watchers on the castle walls. The drums began a loud tattoo and the heavy oaken doors opened slowly. A hush falls over the recruits. He doesn’t speak a word at first. The young men instinctively follow him inside where there in the torchlight hang rows of battered and cracked shields. The Man At Arms speaks. “This is the Hall Of Honor. The men who once held these shields did not turn and run. They stared in the face of our enemies and held their ground. They proved their worth in heat of battle and kept the kingdom.” The young men marveled at the condition of shields on the walls. Dented, broken, scarred and in ruin all except for one shield at the end of the hall. It would have been in perfect condition had not been for heavy Patina of oxidation. The plaque beneath the unused shield read, Ashes to ashes and dust to dust. He fought no battle and his armor did rust. The Man At Arms noticed one of the recruits reading the plaque. “This man was a coward and always avoided confrontation. Nobody remembers his name.

After publishing the picture of Tiny several days ago one my coworkers on my day job pointed out a second turtle making his way along the outside of the office. All I had at the moment was my cellphone but I decided to walk over take a snapshot. He was fairly big for an Eastern Box Turtle. However as you can see he’s been through the wringer. Because he’s missing an eye I decided to name him Popeye after the famous cartoon sailor. His shell has sustained quite a bit of damage that seems to have healed over. I can tell that some scars are older. This kind of damage means bird attacks. (Larger birds will try to peck through the shell . ) He didn’t try to hide when I got close and I almost think he was daring me to try and pick him up. It’s the first time I’ve ever actually worried about being bitten by a box turtle. Popeye has certainly won his place in the Hall Of Honor. He also taught me that even though a battle will leave you with scars; victory is possible. It’s going to happen eventually. Eventually we all get a battle scar here and there. Some of us are going to have quite a few. But the scar is evidence of surviving the battle. Means you’re gaining experience, wisdom and strength. As long as you don’t give up the fight you’ll earn your place of honor.

Lessons Learned from Tiny

While on my way to my day job Sunday morning I noticed a familiar shape on the road. Unfortunately, the Eastern Box Turtle sees the warm road surface as a great place to absorb the morning sun and get the old metabolism going. And what’s worse is that not all drivers are alert enough notice them in time and a few are cruel enough to crush them on purpose. This one is just a baby! He was the smallest box turtle that I’ve seen in a long time. I just couldn’t leave the little guy to fate and so blocking the road with my truck I hopped out and scooped him up.

I wasn’t really sure what to do with him as I’m not a herpetologist. So, I carried him into the office where my coworker quickly found spare box, some scraps out the break room and came up with name Tiny. Tiny was declared to be our team mascot for the day and the whole crew fell instantly in love with him.

While he mostly just kinda sat in the box not understanding what was happening by the end of day he had become accustomed to the attention.

Originally the plan was for me to take him out of the city and relocate him to a nice secure place near my property (which borders the National Forest) . However, in researching how to properly care for him in the meantime we learned that because of strong homing instinct that such a move would almost certainly kill him.

Tiny was released on the same property where he was found but well away from the road.

During his short tenure as Department mascot he did manage to pass on a few words of ancient turtle wisdom.

1. Not everyone who messes up your plans has bad intentions. Tiny’s plans to warm up on the road had to be ruined for his own good.

2. Don’t be afraid to stick your neck out for a friend. Had Tiny not come out of his shell my coworkers would not have been impressed as much and been so motivated to research his well being.

3. There’s no place like home. The Eastern Box Turtle spends it’s entire lifetime (as much as 100 years!) within one mile of its birthplace.

That’s it. Tiny is just a baby and that’s all he had to share right now. But he and his kind have the potential to teach the same lessons to the great grandchildren of the humans born the same time he was. So, if you spot a turtle trying to cross a road (take your own personal safety into account FIRST) the best thing to do is to move it to the other side of the road as close to the woods as possible.

Back in the day, we would write or paint names and dates on the shell. That’s definitely not recommended today. Not only is it possibly toxic to the turtle but it messes up his camouflage that protects him from birds.