Breathing through my skin

Since my last post, there's been a ton going on. The leaves are really starting to come out, it's rained—a LOT.

My younger daughter had a county band concert, and then prom. I've cooked, I've cleaned. I've made a newspaper, worked on some digital upgrades as well. Upper Delaware Magazine is coming along, and the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock playing cards have gone to the printer. There are house ads to go to various groups (like NACL, and Forestburgh Playhouse) to get in their playbills for the summer season. I'm working on a few other summer projects, which are all in the planning stages and need pieces together ASAP.

It feels like I haven't stopped.

I know it's the real ramp up to summer right now. Not only because of the work load, or the leaves and the rain.

What really reminds me that summer is just around the corner, though, is the turtles. We have the lazy, sun-basking turtles on the logs in Little Lake Erie, the ones that hop off the bank as you walk along... and most importantly, there's the return of the snapping turtles.

I know the sight of a snapping turtle isn't something most people would get excited about. We have a few special ones in the lake though. They're large, they're old and from what I know, female.

Why would I assume the big turtle is female? Simply because I've met up with her away from the water. She's pretty easy to spot.

Snapping turtles rarely leave their aquatic habitat except during the breeding season, at which time females travel great distances in search of a place to dig a nest and lay eggs. Some turtles have been found as far as a mile from the nearest water source. Selected nest sites include banks, lawns, gardens, road embankments, and sometimes muskrat burrows. (Source)

Snapping turtles are really interesting animals. Did you know, they can last all winter, underwater, with ice so thick they can't break through? One would think they hibernate much like a bear (or like I want to) but they don't.

Hibernating snapping turtles do not breathe for, in the northern part of their range, more than six months since ice covers their hibernating site. These turtles can get oxygen by pushing their head out of the mud and allowing gas exchange to take place through the membranes of their mouth and throat. This is known as extrapulmonary respiration. If they cannot get enough oxygen through this method they start to utilize anaerobic pathways, burning sugars and fats without the use of oxygen. (Source)

I mean, it really is close to hibernating... but breathing through your skin takes the process to a whole new level. Every mom out there wants to learn this trick. Picture it... mom sliding into a mud hole, hiding from children for just a few minutes to catch a break from the mad dash of everyday life.

This behemoth only comes out when the weather is warm.


Check out the video of her swimming across the lake I caught last summer. Click here (because for some reason, instagram is hibernating too and its embed code is being truly awful)

I’m actually watching the video again, and I’m just a bit jealous of her. Gliding through the water on a warm summer day. Not a care in the world besides what her next meal is and warming herself in the sun as she goes.

No meetings, no deadlines. No worries about color conversations, or a logo being as small as the sugar ants that have mysteriously invaded my desk in the past four days.

When she was on shore that day, I got a little closer then I probably should have. Her quest to find some good soil and lay her eggs was something she's probably done dozens of times (judging by the size of her). And with any luck, she'll do it a dozen more times at the very least. (PS... Happy Mother's Day to this momma snapper, who's probably got hundreds of children out there.)

On a side note... not only is this girl really a behemoth (average snapping turtle sizes are around  8-20" shell length, average of eight to 35 lbs... she's also a very important reptile in New York State. As the official reptile for the state, this girl is an extraordinary specimen.

Anyhow, I really can't take too much more time to gush about how cool this turtle is. After all, there's more to be done, and a high school band concert to attend tonight and then preparation for Mother's Day... if I get a chance though, I'm going to watch this girl closely and see if I can learn to breathe through my skin too.


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