Toward a Wildlife-Free Society

How unfortunate that America has come to this--a family driven out of Florida by a wild reptile (which, if really “seven feet long,” was likely a harmless indigo snake, a vanishing species whose presence in one’s yard ought to inspire wild celebration). And now this woman has been sufficiently outraged by the appearance of a small common snapping turtle to summon the police. Why would the police respond unless they were just as ecologically illiterate, which they apparently were in light of the epiphany experienced by the officer who hadn’t understood that snappers don’t want people “near them”? Why was the turtle taken to the station? To be booked and printed? Why would a major newspaper identify standard turtle behavior as front page news? Snappers, especially small ones like this, are easily picked up by the sides of the carapace. With big ones you grasp the carapace securely behind the neck and in front of the tail. I’ve moved 60-pounders from roadways this way. By the way, you place them in the direction they were headed so they can continue searching for a nest site. If you “release them back into the pond” they have to start the whole process anew. Something is badly broken in a society which happily accepts the regular appearance in and around private property of new asphalt, new cement, new buildings, grinding truck gears, the stench of internal-combustion gases, but is offended by the appearance of native fauna.