Friday, June 19, 2009

animal psychology

Okay. So yesterday on the way to our great expedition in the park, we drove past a small turtle in the road. It was a pretty busy highway, and I fear that the turtle had little to no chance of making it safely to the other side. I would've stopped and escorted the turtle, as we did a few weeks ago in Franklin, but unfortunately for the turtle, this wasn't a nice, straight stretch of highway, it was in a double curve, so it wasn't safe for anyone to be walking about. And since this was the third turtle that I've seen crossing a highway in a couple of weeks, I got thinking.

How advanced is a turtle's little turtle brain? I mean, does a turtle know that crossing a major highway is like playing Russian roulette with very large SUV's? Or, does it not even realize there is anything different? Does the turtle spend days or weeks agonizing over whether or not the mystery on the other side of the road is worth risking its life? Are the turtles we see crossing roads the Vasco de Gamas, the Christopher Columbuses, the Walter Raleighs of turtledom? Or are they just turtles that don't know any better?

Discussion is open. Advanced degree in animal psychology not required.


laura said...

Come spring, we're forever stopping by the side of the road (in a curve, more often than not) while John shuttles a turtle to the other side. I think the turtles know the danger, which is why we see more at the side of the road in deep contemplation, than in the middle. We once saved a desert tortoise from a busy street in LA that kept looking down off the sidewalk, like it was trying to decide if it could make the jump. I could tell it felt out of place and I think the little turtles around here are just as smart.

Anonymous said...

How do you cocme up with these things???