Stalking the Box Turtle
Calvin thought, “It’s a good thing I wore my track shoes, so I can run fast enough to catch him.” He chuckled to himself.
The property owner wanted him to locate and remove a box turtle. This wasn’t the kind of thing that Calvin was usually called for. Most people would be glad to have such a colorful and harmless reptile on their property, but this lady had sounded almost scared of it, and feared that it would eat the koi in her ornamental pond. From what Calvin understood about box turtles, they weren’t likely to go after aquatic animals, preferring land-sourced vegetation and invertebrates. But it would be a good thing to remove the creature to an area farther from the highway at any rate.
Calvin stopped and wiped the sweat from his brow. It was getting hot already. That would not be a problem until it got a little warmer. At some point reptiles will seek a cool, inaccessible refuge. That would make it very difficult to locate.
He looked at the crude, hand-drawn map he had been given in an attempt to figure likely places to find the turtle, so as not to have to randomly check all 83 acres. Although the lack of any kind of proportional scale was disorienting, he noticed that a small orchard should be providing shade to a stretch of the western fence line. From the looks of this place, Calvin figured that any vines or bramble would not be meticulously cleared around the fence. This time of year, that should mean a good chance of lots of ripe dewberries in a pleasantly cool area.
Box turtles like berries
Calvin headed towards where the shaded stretch should be located. A couple of times he got disoriented by vegetation and structures not on the map. Finally, he saw the orchard and headed toward it. It was bigger that it looked on the map, but he finally got to the fence. He headed north for a few yards to where the shade of the trees began to cover the fence, then reversed, so as to cover the entire length of the shaded part. Surely enough, the fence was overgrown. Much of the growth was indeed dewberry vines. He had decided that if he did not find the turtle here, that he would proceed along the perimeter of the property and spiral gradually inward until he did.
It was at that point that he saw a dark object moving about fifteen yards to his left. Calvin headed towards the turtle. Yep, good thing I wore my track shoes. He chuckled to himself again.