My friends from college and I have a reunion vacation every year in a cabin in the Adirondacks, and there is this turtle that lives in the pond on the property that keeps joining us. It is a massive snapping turtle. It looks just like the picture and it is terrifying.
Two years ago we tried to catch it. The reptile specialist in my department recommended a reinforced cardboard box and some sort of lasso on a very long stick. The advice was imparted reluctantly; he actually recommended staying away from it altogether and showed incredulity when I explained about the skinny dipping. As a somewhat fearsome individual himself, this was a shock, and it justified the alarmist attitude that was already preventing the boys from lounging in the inner tubes. Some impatient internet research had convinced me that snappers, while vicious and aggressive and sure to snap off your digits if you disturb them on land, are of a diffident and temperate personality underwater. Our empirical evidence only partially supported this claim: it did bite one of us on the foot; the foot, like the turtle, was in the water; the leg and all the rest was on land. (Amputation was avoided, and no one died of Salmonella poisoning.) This was, if I recall correctly, our introduction, and that first impression may have instilled an unreasonable level of antagonism between us.
Anyway the year we brought the relocation equipment, we couldn’t find the turtle. This year, with short memories and fresh enthusiasm for a splash in the lake, we saw it again. It likes hanging around the dock, and provides plenty of opportunity for ogling. So grotesquely prehistoric! I love it, but it scares me. It’s quite the summer thrill.