06 July 2012

The Mother of All Beasts

Back in March we had a week of unusually warm weather.  While crossing the lawn one day I found The Beast  heading towards our pond.
Though he was a relatively small snapping turtle, I didn't want him in the pond.  Last year Dan and I caught many sunfish at a friend's pond and we moved them to our pond.  I like sunfish and so do snapping turtles; I didn't want The Beast to eat all of my fish so I grabbed half of a nearby bait trap and put it over The Beast.
Mean as he was I didn't want to kill the little fellow so Dan took him away and found him a new home.  Then about a month ago I was out by the pond feeding the fish when out from under the dock came the mother of all beasts.  I had no camera and later when I went out to take a picture she was gone.  So I took off my flip-flops to give some perspective on her size.  The trap I used for the original beast was smaller than one flip-flop.
The new beast was longer than the width of the ladder on the dock - so about 2 flip-flops.
Two days ago I was out feeding the fish again when who should I spy but The Mother Beast.  I have been wondering why there aren't more sunfish - they should multiply like rabbits in a pond like ours.  But while we still have lots of miscellaneous little pond fish, we have seen very few sunnies.  Now I knew why and the dilemma was how to dispose of the sunfish-eating beast.  I Googled how to catch a snapping turtle.  As with all things Google I got hundreds of hits and then had to winnow the results - did I want to rescue the turtle (lots of methods but none guaranteeing that you could do this and still have 10 fingers when done), did I want to eat the turtle (a resounding 'No' to that option), did I just want the turtle gone ... yes.  So I saved some steak from dinner, Dan baited a large hook and attached the heavy-duty fishing line to the ladder - it didn't take too long and sure enough we caught a snapping turtle.
This was a very mad, very strong turtle - every time she tried to swim away she would knock into the ladder and the dock shook. Neither Dan nor I wanted to risk losing a finger so I agreed that the turtle needed to be put out of our misery as humanely as possible.  I retreated to the house and a bit later Dan assured me that she was now at the bottom of the pond and she would eat no more sunfish, or any of the pond creatures for that matter.  I have a vision of all the little pond denizens gathering around the now dead beast gleefully singing "Ding-dong the Witch is Dead" as the giant feet of The Beast curl into its shell.

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