Last week I was walking along the Pennypack Trail in a section where the former rail bed bisects and is raised above the flood plain of the Pennypack Creek. It’s pretty high up above the swampy lower lands and the inclined sides are steep. As I was going along I saw an odd shape moving across the trail at a good clip, some distance in front of me.
It didn’t move like a raccoon or opossum or fox, and anyway, it was mid-morning, not a time you’d usually see one of these animals. As I came up to the spot, I saw it was a nice big snapping turtle. Judging from its direction of travel and the mud all over its body, it had climbed up the incline from the wet areas below the trail and was crossing to go down the other side.
I stopped and took a good look. The turtle eyed me and retracted its head, but did not gather itself inside its shell. Clearly it wanted me to go away and let it get on with its life. So I did, walking away.
I took one backwards glance and saw the turtle had extended its neck back out, quite a length it had, and was moving its head side to side, obviously surveying the scene in order to manage its next move.
I went off down the trail full of smiles that morning, I’ll tell you that.
I was interested to read in a friend’s blog, A Pict in PA, about a turtle sighting she recently made, hundreds of miles from this one. But it makes me think – turtles are out and about right now, it seems.