What Lurks Beneath…

Usually, when parking myself in my lawn chair next to the pond, I end up with lots of photos of dragonflies. But one day a couple of weeks past, I had sat at the water’s edge for a few minutes when the bullfrogs began to emerge from the water. They always flee at my approach, generally quite noisily, and a few will return to show themselves, but not this many.

My pond is not very big, maybe fifty feet across at the widest, and I counted 14 bullfrogs at one point. And with all the cover available to them, I know I had to have missed at least a few.

So I’m sitting there watching the frogs, occasionally shooting a photo when there’s a large splash on the opposite bank. I figured it was yet another frog, but I couldn’t see one in the vicinity of the splash, but that was to be expected. Then something started moving underwater, disturbing the water shield that covers the pond as passed. And it was coming towards me!

duunnn dunnn… duuuunnnn duun… duuunnnnnnnn dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dunnnnnnnnnnn dunnnn 

I watched its progress as it continued to approach, still tracking it by the movement of the plant cover. It stopped moving about 10′ from me and I figured that would be the end of it. But then, very slowly, this emerged from the water.

I wasn’t surprised that there was a snapping turtle in the pond. After all, one came from there several years ago and laid eggs in the yard. I was surprised to see her, simply because she simply doesn’t show herself very often. I’m calling it a “her” because turtles are very long-lived and this could easily be the same turtle as the egg-layer. 

She kept raising her head further and further out of the water. She only stopped when it seemed her neck would stretch no further, looking like a scaly periscope. Then she abruptly pulled her head back underwater and began moving away towards the water-lily in the northwest end of the pond. Approaching the far side, she popped her head up again, parting and lifting the small pads of the water shield.

Apparently satisfied that there were no threats present, she dragged herself out of the water in the shallows near the edge. 

Once there, she periscoped her head again, then quickly plunged it into the water.

Once there, she periscoped her head again, then quickly plunged it into the water.

She caught something; I could see that she was eating but frustratingly couldn’t make out what it was. Finishing her snack, she resumed her hunting posture.

She was still there when I left my seat. The frogs all went willy-nilly for the water when I moved, but she either couldn’t see me from that distance or simply ignored me. Hopefully, it’s not another five years before I see her again.

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