Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Truth about Snapping Turtles

Controversy erupted on a recent comments page, as Fr. Joseph reported that in North Carolina he was told that snapping turtles hold on until the next thunderstorm, whereas I was told in Louisiana that they would hold on until sundown.

This is a matter of no small importance, especially since they inhabit streams and lakes east of the Rockies from southern Canada to Ecuador, not to mention reptile collections of people who think of cold-blooded animals as pets.

A woman in Manhattan, wearing sandals, was ruthlessly attacked by an ungrateful snapping turtle that she tried to rescue from a garbage can in Hell's Kitchen.

A criminal in Balch Springs, Texas, tried to use a snapping turtle to commit an armed robbery. He was later charged with assault with a reptile (I kid you not).

The snapping turtle has even played a part in American political history, as this early cartoon compares Pres. Jefferson's embargo to an "Ograbme" turtle. (Is that funny? I guess you had to be there.)

So, given all this danger, of being mugged, attacked on a city street, traumatized in your friend's kitchen, or assaulted by a presidential administration, you're probably wondering, when do they let go -- sundown or thunderstorm? Thunderstorm or sundown? Or does the Heisenberg principle apply, under which they both hold on and let go -- until you shove something in their nostrils.

That's the answer, friends, and a much more satisfactory answer than either the sundown (which could be a long way off) or a thunderstorm (which in Oregon practically never happens).

So now you can say you learned something new today. Or if you already knew all this stuff, you can say I learned something new today.

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