This is what happens when we kidnap box turtles off the roads and out of the woods they know and bring them to our homes, then put them in our backyards to "let them go."
They strike out looking for something they know, sometimes in ever-increasing concentric circles, sometimes in a jaggedy line. Mowers, dogs, coons, cats, roads be damned. I'm looking for home.
Pike Street is five lanes of unrelenting fast traffic, a plastic strip full of gas stations and mostly plastic food. (Although I excuse Bar-B-Cutie from this broad-brush assessment. Bar-B-Cutie has real food.)
My friend wanted to know if I knew anyone who wanted a pet box turtle. As in, "Do you want a pet box turtle?" She knew who to ask.
Any more, the notion of keeping a box turtle, or any turtle, as a household pet is repellent to me. Who are we to put a wild creature (and a threatened one at that) capable of living 130 years in a glass tank, to limit its world to a few square feet, to take it out of the breeding population and drop it into solitary confinement for the pleasure of feeding and observing it? And where is the pleasure in that, anyway? I love box turtles with a passion, but as pets, I'll take a dog any day. And you know which dog.
I told her to bring him on out so I could keep him for life as a pet in my rather expansive backyard enclosure. He paddled his legs furiously when he saw the area where I plan to confine him. An imperfect solution, to be sure, but better, I think, than being crushed by tires or given a life sentence he never earned. This way, the places he wanders through will have food, shelter, water, and very few roads and cars. And, given the season, perhaps a mate or two.
The Bacon eyed this new addition to the family.
Pet. Hmmph. That is not a pet. That is a client, a charge, a ward of your duchy.
Piker, because you are clearly a faulty pet, and you need to be taught what to do, here is what a pet does. A pet hauls large branchtes out of the woods and brings them to his person for a surprise game of tug-o-war. See? She is laughing now. This, and other antics which are well beyond your capabilities, makes her laugh. A proper pet makes his person laugh. Unnf. Unnf.