Drive carefully!Be on the lookout for turtles and other wildlife
Ed. Note: The following note came in from reader Annie Kurz, which reminds us that the appeal of Block Island is not only our physical landscape but also the diverse and beautiful wildlife that inhabit the island. We remind our readers, and ourselves, to drive safely and at the speed limit. It’s the best way to keep everyone safe.
As I drove south along Corn Neck Road on May 25 to deliver some of my thinned-out daffodil bulbs for selling at the Library’s fundraising sale, something on the side of the road caught my attention and I pulled over to see a really hefty snapping turtle. As I approached it very cautiously to photograph it, another driver stopped.
My friend Jens came and said we ought to measure it (and that I ought to bring the photos directly to The Block Island Times). A third person, Nancy, headed to the library, also stopped to look.
The turtle had wounds on its head and made all of us speculate that it had been hit by a car; the head atypically rested on the ground. Jens noticed that there were drag marks in the wet road from its center to the grassy side where it lay. When I first tried to lift the face with twigs for a better shot, the turtle opened its mouth but lay unmoving afterward.
I got the small tape measure out of my purse and asked Jens, as I caught it on camera, to hold it over the turtle. He cautiously did so and announced the turtle was roughly 20 inches long. It looked longer to me but my photos did not show the tape measure clearly enough to prove or disprove my impression.
By this time, a fourth person arrived and opined that the turtle might be better off dying in the shrubs; I said it probably felt so awful that moving it would add to its suffering. I offered Nancy a lift into town and we went off in the rain.
On my return, the turtle was no longer on the side of the road. I am no great fan of snapping turtles, but I can only hope that whoever moved it did not simply pick it up by its tail and hurl it over the stone wall into the bushes.