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Cape Cod National Seashore

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Last weekend I went to the Cape to visit the seashore and hang out with friends. This is when I first got there and couldn't find anyone but I liked the random green things growing on the beach.
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Cutler Park


My dad visited, so we took him and the dogs to Cutler Park. Okay, I admit it, fall in New England is breathtaking. I only wish it wasn't followed by 6 months of winter.
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You must love the wee turtle


Photos by cottonmanifesto.

We nearly stepped on this creature as it trundled along the path last night. We brought it in for photographs and questioning, then sent it back up the river.

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If I Don't Save the Wee Turtles, Who Will?

At the end of the day on Wednesday, we got a call that there were baby turtles in the parking lot! We responded to find a mom and two daughters moving them off the asphalt and on to the grass. There was a 50-cent-piece sized hole in the hard, sandy soil along the parking lot. We saw at least one tiny snapping turtle emerge from it! --If you think snapping turtles aren't cute, you have to see them as babies! Especially if you see a whole pile of them in your hat, which is what eventually happened. My coworkers and I fanned out around the area and picked up the little snappers, and I used my hat to collect them. Probably we weren't doing much help by picking them out of the field--the ones in harm's way were the ones actually in the parking lot between all the rolling tires. There were crows, kingfishers and herons about, too, but our moral obligation is to protect them from human-caused catastrophe.

Whenever a nest of turtles hatches near a road, path or parking area, everyone asks, “Why did the turtle lay her eggs here?” Well, it’s not as if the turtle has thought it out or anything. But she is looking around for sandy soil. Why? Turtle eggs (in fact, all eggs with shells) have to breathe. A big snapping turtle laden with eggs has to awkwardly drag itself out of the water and plod along until it finds a place out of flooding range. It also has to be a place with soil sandy enough for rain to drain by the eggs, rather than drowning them. The sandiest soil often turns out to be right next to a road, path or parking lot. 100 million years ago snappers happily coexisted with dinosaurs and many millions of years later, mammoths. Automobiles are a new danger but human use of the land seems to be more positive than negative in the case of snapping turtles.

One question I haven’t been able to answer is, why do all turtles have beaks and not teeth?


The Urban Pantheist

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December 2014



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