Read the NPR story here: Stand Back When Snapping Turtles Crop Up In the Garden.

chelydra serpentina, female turtle laying eggsThis week my garden had a couple of uninvited guests, in the form of Chelydra serpentina, the common snapping turtle. I had accidentally left the garden gate open and–apparently–in strolled a 30-pound snapping turtle. At first I thought she was a leather briefcase or something and I had to check with myself–is there some reason I might have left a satchel in the strawberry patch? Maybe? Maybe I’m a GP, and I was making house calls, and I took a shortcut through the garden and left my bag there?

My friend Macaylla, who happened to have stopped by, removed the turtle for me.  But an hour later, I returned to check my favas for blackfly, and there in Bed 12 was *another* snapping turtle. This one just a little smaller. I went back in, got my boots and gloves, and came back full of purpose, only to lose my nerve at the last minute in the face of those prehistoric, beady, “Despicable Me” eyes. Instead I took a picture.

chelydra serpentina eggs Yesterday morning, it became clear that Mrs. Snapper had left behind more than just a photograph, as I discovered while putting the zucchini and peppers in the bed she had occupied . The eggs couldn’t stay in the garden, so I stashed them in a couple of transplant pots.

This, apparently, was the wrong thing to do.  But I only found that out later, when an NPR friend encouraged me to submit the story to the site’s food blog, The Salt, which I’ve admired for a long time.  I immediately began to acquire a very, very large quantity of facts about snapping turtles very, very quickly.

Many thanks to all who contributed their opinions, experiences, and helping hands this extraordinary Week of the Turtle.