Mar 21, 2010

Freshwater Fears

I've gone scuba diving in kelp forests, in the Red Triangle with 10-foot visibility and 5-foot surges, and in wrecks that were deep enough to give me nitrogen narcosis. But for some reason I freak out at the notion of getting into bodies of freshwater. Images like the one below don't help.

What we've got here is a Florida softshell turtle (Apalone ferox). As their name implies, they are turtle with soft shells that are native to Florida (and some nearby neighboring states). They're fast on land and on water, and prefer slow moving streams, lakes or ponds.

Once when I was diving in Monterey, California, I turned around and saw a seal watching me from five feet away. It made my year. But if I were in a lake and turned around to see this, it would ruin me. Why, again, I couldn't tell you. Maybe it goes back to when a softshell turtle ate my father.


Anonymous said...

I've got these suckers in my front pond.

Let me tell you, they have a BAD temper when you accidentally hook them while fishing.

Incidentally, they get along pretty well with the six-foot gator in my pond.

Danielle said...

But it's little hands are so presh!

…wouldn't you like to know. said...

I find this creature upsetting, as well. "Upsetting" is the mildest word I would use to describe it. "Freak" also comes to mind. Why? First of all, look at its nose. I can't think of anything to say about it specifically, but all I can wonder is why in the world it evolved to look like that. I know lots of turtles who get by breathing without such a hideous snout. Secondly, its SOFT SHELL is really disturbing! It just makes me feel like it's a perpetually in the soft-baby-head stage of its life. I donnn liiike it.

Raging Wombat said...

Lentzie, I hear you with the soft-baby-head stage. My son is almost 18 months, so his soft spot is just about closed. I never thought to associate him with a Florida softshell turtle. I'll be sure to tell my wife about that. She'll love the comparison.

Unknown said...

Anonymous is right on. Softshells are bitey assholes as far as turtles go. I'd much rather deal with a snapper, it has a (somewhat) shorter reach!