There are two morals to today’s post. First, never leave home without your camera. Second, it’s possible to sweet-talk even a snapping turtle.

Yesterday after starting my wash at the laundromat, I took Reggie for a quick walk at Beaver Brook Falls. Since I still have plenty of images to blog from Tuesday’s trip to the Cheshire Fair, I wasn’t planning to take any pictures at Beaver Brook: just a short there-and-back walk to the falls. But since I always carry my camera, I was prepared when I saw a huge heaving hulk lumbering on the abandoned road ahead of me. Presumably on her way to or from laying a batch of eggs, Ms. Snapping Turtle was moving, her muscular legs fully extended as she lifted each corner of her pie-sized carapace some two inches off the ground. If the average human walking speed is three miles per hour, Ms. Snap was going about two and a half since I had to speed up my slow-pokey pace to reach her.

Normally turtles withdraw into their shells as danger approaches, and snappers are no different. Ms. Snap stopped and pulled in her legs as I approached ahead of Reggie, who was slowly sniffing every tree behind me. Since I wanted a picture of Ms. Snap, I approached from the side, crouched to her level, and did the only thing I could think of to get her to look at me. I sweet-talked her.

“Hey, pretty girl, it’s okay. Yeah, it’s okay, sweetie…”

And as crazy as it sounds, Ms. Snap stretched her head back out of her shell to look right at me and my camera while I took a handful of underlit, admittedly blurry shots, not wanting to snap a flash in her face.

Of course, as soon as Reg realized I had apparently sniffed up something of my own to investigate, he was straight on the scene to check it out, too. In the past, Reg has been oblivious to turtles and even snakes, walking right by and even over them, unaware. But parked as she was in the middle of the path, Ms. Snap was unavoidable, and Reg was understandably intrigued. What is this? A creature that looks like a rock on the outside, but smells like an animal on the inside?

When Reggie first approached this good-sized snapper, I stepped into my usual role as referee: “Leave it! No! LEAVE IT!” Once it was clear that Reg wasn’t listening and the turtle wasn’t making any aggressive gestures, I decided to take my own advice, leaving the two of them to come to their own inter-species detente. If any dog deserved to get his nose nipped, it was Reggie, who at one point came snout-to-snout with Ms. Snap. Luckily, though, this turtle was either incredibly patient or (more likely) tired from her egg-laying trip. Like many of the cats that Reg innocently approaches, Ms. Snap simply looked at him with a disinterested, aloof glance: “Oh, why bother?”

And if you’re wondering what the Falls look like these days, here is the requisite postcard picture:

Not a bad place for a girl to walk while doing laundry or laying eggs, eh?