My fork clinked on the plate. We were in one of my favorite restaurants in Mysore. I was about to put the piece of Pasta in my mouth when Sufi shouted, “parii! Come here, come here!”
I pushed my chair back and ran up to where she was standing, bending in front of a small pond-like thing, glistening. “LOOK!”
“What’s there? I can’t see anything..”
And then I saw the turtle. I couldn’t believe it! I frantically called my parents, splashing with excitement. Fishes are common. But turtles?
He looked into my eyes, smiling. I looked back at him, beaming with happiness, without breaking the stare.
I could see his paws swimming around perfectly – splish splosh, splish splosh. It felt as though he was human with his smooth, long strokes. He pushed his head against the wall, but of course. It wouldn’t budge. Unfortunately, we humans have made the walls with bricks, cement, and pairs of strong hands of men. How can an innocent creature budge it with its soft head? And we’ve made it so tall that the creature can’t ever start climbing it. It wouldn’t stand a chance.
“Awwwwwwwww my goodness! I want to touch it!!” I said.
I reached out into the water and touched his hard, yet beautiful shell. It was so strong. As I stroked it, he retreated his head inside – scared. It’s the softest part of the body, rest are extremely strong.
“Awwwww he wants to come to meee!” Sufi said proudly.
I felt like.. like crying. What else could I feel? Yes, joy, of having made a connection with this beautiful soul. But seeing him captivated like this?
“He is so, so, so, so, so cute!” We both exclaimed.
I could see his nostrils flaring a little as he smiled at us. He liked the attention. Loved it. Goodness knows what it’s like to be surrounded by walls, whereas in the ocean? Surrounded by his family, his friends, his life.
I didn’t want to leave him. What if he dies? What if he gets stressed with loneliness? I loved him.
I can’t even tell you how adorable he was. Well, you can see it in the picture, but just this once – the picture cannot speak a thousand words.
“We always come, feel extremely sorry for him, we cry, we touch him. But what’s the difference? He’ll still be stuck in that miserable little “aquarium.” We should actually take him out of there!” I said to my dad, nodding my head at what I said. I was right.
We stand a chance in other places, but here, we can’t. The restaurant people would come running up to us. And where could we leave him? I wanted to leave him in the ocean, a lake, a river, anywhere. But.. there wasn’t one right where we were.
We came to that restaurant again. He was there. Where could he go, but die?
That, was the meeting of the cutest, most smiling turtle ever. The Lone Turtle. 🙂
Facts about Turtles!
1.Many turtle species (not all) can hide their heads inside their shells when attacked by predators.
2. Sea turtles have special glands which help remove salt from the water they drink! (Interesting, right?)
3. To put it into perspective, dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago. Turtles evolved before mammals, birds, crocodiles, snakes, and lizards. They are one of the oldest and most primitive groups of reptiles on the planet.
4. They can breathe through their skin.
5. You can identify males and females by the sounds they make. Determining the gender of a turtle can be a tricky business. You can look for signs such as the shape of their bottom shell or location of their anus. But if you have the chance to hear a turtle, typically the males will grunt and the females hiss, especially during mating.
6. Turtles live on every continent except Antarctica.
7. They can drown! One deep breath can last a turtle for several hours, and some freshwater turtles can stay underwater for many days. They do this by lying still on the bottom and using very little oxygen. But similar to water snakes, crocodiles, alligators, dolphins and whales, turtles can drown if unnaturally kept underwater for too long.
8. Turtles see colors. Scientists have found that turtles have good eyesight and are particularly sensitive to the color red. This could explain why some turtles have brightly colored markings. Turtles also have excellent hearing, smell and sense of touch. Even their shells contain nerve endings. They can feel the touch of a predator immediately and retract into their shells for protection.
P.S Do you have any experiences, facts, or anything you would like to share about turtles? Comment them below! I would love to know. 🙂