country road, New EnglandBecause of me, my granddaughter almost loses a couple of fingers.

We’re driving down a typical New England country road, bracketed with August-green swaying trees. Hawks swing on the tops of those trees, squawking loudly.

To our right is an almost-hidden river where kayakers slowly swing their oars. To our left is dense wood filled with squirrels and woodchucks and chirping sparrows.

“Madre, watch out!” Sophie yells. I ram my foot on the brake.

In front of us, smack in the middle of the road, is a smallish non-moving turtle. snapping turtle, turtle rescue

I drive my car carefully past the turtle and then stop on the side of the narrow two-lane road.

We both get out of the car and approach the black reptile, wondering if it’s alive. But the shell is not damaged, and ever so slowly, we notice a tiny head peek out.

“The turtle is trying to reach the water,” I explain to my granddaughter, as if I’m a fountain of knowledge. “If you’d like, you can pick it up and move it over to the edge of the river.”

Sophie slowly advances toward the seemingly innocuous creature. “Is it safe to pick up?” she asks her all-knowing grandmother.

“Sure!” I say confidently.

As she kneels down toward it, hand outstretched, another car approaches. “Wait!” I shout to her.

But instead of passing us (me raising my arm to make sure the car doesn’t hit the turtle), the automobile stops.

A man and woman step out of their station wagon, which is bouncing with the exuberance of three large dogs inside, wagging their tails and tongues. “Quiet!” the man demands.

The car stops bouncing.

Almost simultaneously, he shouts to Sophie, “Don’t touch that!”

The woman stays by their dog-filled car while the man walks closer to the turtle. “Yup,” he says as if to himself. Then he addresses me. “You trying to help the turtle reach the other side safely?”

“Yes,” I answer.

“Well, don’t touch it with your hands. That’s a snapping turtle. It could take a finger.”missing a finger, snapping turtle


By now, Sophie has scurried behind me.

The man shows me his hand. He has only half a right index finger.

“Aw, it’s only a baby,” the woman shouts from the safety of her position. “Pick it up!”

The man huffs his chest and places his fingers near the shell.

Then he stands up, takes a deep breath. “I don’t wanna lose another finger,” he shouts back.

“It’s only a baby!” she repeats.

The man kneels closer, but then a large pick-up speeds down the street. It passes us, then brakes and stops in the middle of the road.

I read the sign on the side of the truck. Public Works.

Two manly men step out, wearing waders, thick beards, and nervous grins.

snapping turtle, New England reptiles“A snapper!” the blonde bearded one says. “Don’t touch it!”

I turn my head toward Sophie, who is sweet enough to not say anything to me.

The other bearded one finds a big stick and asks the turtle to latch onto it so he can move it to the other side of the road.

The turtle has escaped into its shell and will have none of it.

So Mr. Blonde Beard scoots back to the truck and grabs a shovel.

“These things can bite. Hard,” the Public Works man explains as he oh so cautiously moves the shovel under the snapping turtle, which is still tight in its shell, and then carefully de-shovels it onto the side of the river.

I want to hug the man. Worse, I get tears in my eyes.

Here we are – all strangers – stopping in the middle of our busy day to save a turtle.

The six of us just nod to each other with smiles and return to our three vehicles.

Sophie doesn’t say a word until we arrive to her house, where she tells her mom all about saving a turtle.

She doesn’t tell her mom that because of her grandmother, she almost lost a finger or two.

132 thoughts on “SNAP Chat

  1. Ahh, Pam you have me simultaneously laughing and crying! 😀😀 I just love how you all strangers stop to help this little, but not defenceless, turtle! Who knew there were snapping ones??!! Well, obviously quite a few, haha!😀 I would have merrily picked it up, lacking this innate turtle knowledge! Your granddaughter sounds like a real treasure and a real gem for not telling on you…I’m just guessing your daughter reads your blog, though? Is that the phone I hear ringing..hugs ❤️


    • Haha, Annika. My daughter does NOT read my blog (thus, I’m free to write about her …and her kids). :-)She’s told me that it’s too freaky for her to read my writing. That she keeps feeling like she’s reading her own mind when she does so. Interesting, huh? So, I think my secret is safe with me…and Sophie, who thankfully, has no tale to tell since she has all 10 digits….

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my! Who would think or know that that tiny little animal could be so ferocious!! Oh thank goodness others stopped to help. That would NOT have been a good day and Not a good grandma memory to have. But what are the odds that the man who stopped had lost a finger to one of ’em!?!

    I love people who stop to help animals. At the end of the day luckily what she remembers is the fact that you role modelled kindness.



    • What are the ‘odds,’ as you say, Peta. I love it when circumstances collide and, oddly, the right things happen at the right time. Like the snapping man who’d already been snapped, stopping by at that country road at just the right time. “Someone” was certainly looking out for Sophie, and me, and that sweet little turtle. Kindness Karma! ❤


  3. What a great story. I love when people come together like this. And so glad no one lost a finger! BTW, this line was so funny: “as if I’m a fountain of knowledge.” We all like to think we are, don’t we? 😄


  4. Pam, I just love your sun-shine story. How can we not smile and feel warm inside hearing how six people work in harmony to save the life of a little turtle.
    Shows the goodness that is in our world. Now, as to your precious grand daughter…well, the right people arrived just on time.😊 .
    Thank you for sharing this


    • When our turtle adventure happened, and all during this rather ‘unkind’ time around our country, I figured I needed to share and show that most of us just want to be kind….even to a little turtle trying to cross the road. xo


  5. I love how all of you–total strangers–had the same mission, to save this turtle. Fortunately, some had a bit of knowledge about the turtles, too. 😉 This could be a parable for our times.
    Your granddaughter sounds like a wonderful person–compassionate and wise.


    • Snapping turtles are mostly known in the east coast of the U.S. and Canada, and they are at risk because their numbers are declining (habitat degradation is a big reason – it takes them up to 20 years to mature and they keep trying to cross the road in front of cars/trucks!). Thus, we must help them out. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. How weird is that? – the man who stops to warn you actually lost a finger to a snapping turtle!!! If I read that in a book, I’d be rolling my eyes at the implausible coincidence. What a great story and I love your take from the encounter – all these strangers stopping to rescue a turtle. And your granddaughter didn’t rat you out! Good girl. Ha ha 🙂


    • I can tell you have so much fun with your grandgirls, Sharon. Tell them to always be careful about any turtles they come across and to use thick gloves or a stick to help the turtle across the street! 🙂


  7. Living where I do, it’s not uncommon to see turtles trying to cross the road in the summertime, and thankfully, it’s also not uncommon to see cars stopped along the side of the road to help them. But I wouldn’t recognize a snapping turtle if I saw one, so your visual might come in very handy!

    You have a wonderful granddaughter! I’m sure she’ll remember this little adventure for a very long time.


    • Well, aren’t you kind to keep a shovel in case of snapping-turtle-crossing! Those Public Work men were so careful with that shovel, too. I wanted to shout, “GENTLE!” but no need. They treated the creature like the baby it was. ❤


  8. OH my gosh, what a story! Your dear granddaughter is going to remember this one! Yay on not losing a finger, but I have a feeling she will hold that in her memory bank for when it may come in handy to fire back at you. LOL!
    Love how everyone stopped to help the turtle. More evidence that there are kindhearted people in this world, thanks so much for sharing!


    • I don’t think so, Gerlinde. I also love watching the huge turtles in Hawaii as they swim in the water as well as when they gulump onto the beach (I made up that word, but that’s what they look like). I don’t think they could move fast enough to bite! :-0


  9. But she didn’t lose her fingers… And that car and then those other two arriving shows you just how watched over you both were.. You were not to know that.. And so please do not blame yourself for something that Might have happened.. Though I know I would be feeling exactly the same as you had it been my granddaughter..
    I had not heard of these turtles before.. But then I do live in the UK,,

    Wishing you and your granddaughter many more uneventful adventures together 😀


  10. Love your miracle story! Your granddaughter is special for not blurting “the truth “. Love Jeanette

    Sent from my iPad



    • My daughter, Sophie’s mother, usually does not read my blog. She says it seems weird to her because when she reads it she feels as if she is reading her own mind. 🤔 So I think my secret with Sophie is safe!


  11. So glad to know I am not the only one who has stopped on a road (more than once) to help a turtle reach the other side of the road! 😙 Great story about awesome humans doung awesome things!


    • Wow-good to know, even cardboard isn’t safe to transport a snapping turtle.!! I shudder when I think of what could’ve happened if my little granddaughter had tried to move that innocent looking creature. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: SNAP Chat–roughwighting: | By the Mighty Mumford

  13. A lesson learned the almost hard way is never forgotten. It will probably remain a well kept secret between you and your granddaughter until years later and then while at a family gathering she might possibly tell the real tale of the snapping turtle. Even though she is a still a child, I think she has great respect and allegiance to you. It has to be a wonderful feeling to have those lovely and advanced grandchildren.

    I reckon that you learned about snapping turtles that day. I once read that one should learn something new every day even if it seems meaningless. I hope I am not repeating the same mantra that I have written on someone’s blog in the past.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are so right! We need to learn from our ‘almost mistakes’ and pass on the lesson. I researched about snapping turtles after our incident, and then told Sophie what I learned. We decided to tell her mom about it all, so EVERYONE in the family knows about snapping turtles. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Pamela that was the best idea yet. You were smart to tell the family about snapping turtles. We have those here too but I don’t swim in farm ponds or creeks and I never tried to pick one up since my dad taught me to respect wildlife. Growing up on a farm, I suppose have its advantages in some ways.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, thanks Andrea. Kindness to all creatures, big and small, is a lesson we all can remember and emphasize. And how amazing it was, to see those big burly men rescue that baby turtle. Oh, shoot, getting teary-eyed again.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Great story! A snapper turtle is outside my experience but once I slammed a car door on my 5-year-old grand daughter’s fingers. Soft young bones, they bent instead of breaking, thank heavens. Off topic: Pamela, was it you who wrote a great post about the way people don’t write reviews? Every second sentence was “write me a review!” (roughly) and I’ve been wanting to republish this one.


  15. I **LOVE** love, love this story… And I totally want to jump up and down and celebrate all of the care and attention this small wonderful monster received:).

    Fabulous story Pam! Sophie must go home with a world of stories to tell of your adventures together:)


  16. This is adorable Pam, what a lovely story. I too am moved, though not surprised, by the tenderness and openness of strangers when it comes to helping wild animals. Wonderful, in a world as volatile as ours right now, that such moments of kindness and connection between strangers still happen…and that sweet souls like you make a point of noticing them. Blessings, Harula x


  17. Ouch!!! That was close!! Can’t help but feel this is like an episode of Doctor Who, where the strange object in the middle of the road turned out to be an alien that needed helping with great caution… all turned out okay in the end! Goodness, I’ve never heard of such creatures… not snapping ones anyway. What adventures you have Pamela!! Oh yes, and how lucky you were to come across those who knew… so timely! 🙂


Comments are closed.