Not many people in life have had the honor of feeding a cage full of box turtles. Let me tell you–it’s exhilarating. (Please note the sarcasm in my tone). As I set the slightly moldy blueberries in the cage, a few heads “pop” up–as much as a turtle can pop. One brave soul crawls over, sticks his nose in and secures a blueberry–stuck on his snout. Not exactly the result he was hoping for, I’m sure. But, I can only assume. I then set the coveted “monkey” burgers that are soaking in a pool of water into the cage. Many stampede–sort of. The blueberry guy scrambles over, tugging the blueberry off his nose just in time to ram his mouth into the monkey burger–oops, my bad–it’s not soft enough yet for him to eat. No matter–he’ll just suck up the water like there’s no tomorrow. Another little dude ambles over and proceeds to spend 3 minutes
attacking the burger with no success–it’s still too hard. Meanwhile, Weesie, the 26 year box turtle, simple sits in the corner with a look of wisdom on her old, wrinkled face. She truly is a relic. Two other turtles, recent additions from the backyard I think, have been mating this entire time. (I once tried to pull box turtles apart when I was a kid. Little did I know the pain that caused them.) So now I just glance at them from time to time. It’s a pretty interesting process really.
The one little dude is still trying to attack the burgers; he stops to suck water for a while. Two tan ones come over for a try, but with no success. Man, I’m mean to put un-soaked monkey burgers in the cage! One tan guy sits on the blueberries to get to the burgers; apparently my berries are not too interesting to the turtles. I notice that one guy is chillin in the corner, his back to the world. He’s zoning out the “window”. His view? The wall.
…..As I sat and watched these turtles, fight so viciously for a bite of monkey burger, some not fighting at all, and some simply concentrate on procreating, I am amused. These turtles have been around my whole life; one of them, Clayton (I think he’s the one who first attacked the burgers) supposedly is mine. These turtles have lived in this cage, eating these burgers, sitting on blueberries and mating just to mate (the eggs never live), for over 20 years.
The monkey burgers are soft enough now, but they’ve almost all lost interest. The one maybe called Clayton is eating; he conquered the burger. One little dude gave up and started eating the berries. The two tan ones have surrounded the guy who was zoning out the window–maybe they’re giving a turtle pep talk. The two mating are still going; they’ve actually rotated an entire 360 degrees–pretty incredible since the male is sitting straight up attached to the female. Weesie continues to look on, content in her corner, watching the world through turtle-wisened eyes. I swear she’s looking at me and smiling….maybe after 23 years together, she recognizes me. Op–and now another one is on the blueberries, a tan one has climbed on top of the Zoning guy, and the two are still mating in the corner.
Ah, the life of a box turtle. Maybe watching them is more interesting than I first thought.