I took back roads home from town today hoping, as I always do, to see something interesting along the way. I wasn't disappointed.
My first find was on Scrub Jay Lane in Minneola, a road where I almost always see Florida's endemic (only found in Florida) bird, the Florida scrub jay. Although no scrub jays caught my eye this time, I did see a gopher tortoise walking along the edge of the road.
After pulling over to take pictures, I moved on hoping that the hard-shelled reptile would have a safe journey to wherever it was headed.
A few miles farther along as I was driving along the clay stretch of Libby Number 3 Road, I encountered turtle number 2.
A very large softshell turtle was busy laying eggs. She was almost completely covered with red clay with only her long neck stretched out as if she was searching to see if I would cause her harm.
Of course, I never would, but I have to say, the place she chose to lay her eggs was not the best spot. It was along the edge of the clay road where any driver who wasn't paying attention could easily run over either the turtle, her eggs or any baby turtles that might manage to hatch.
As I was leaving the spot where the turtle lay, another car approached from the opposite direction. I rolled down my window and told them to be careful because a turtle was laying eggs up ahead. Fortunately, they seemed truly interested, pausing long enough to watch the clay-covered animal before they too moved along.
Tomorrow I have to go to town again and I'll be driving on the same two roads. While normally I'd be looking for wildlife to see, tomorrow will be different. I'll be hoping not to see something. I don't want to see any sign that either reptile came to harm. If that's what happens, I'll be glad.
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