• Mike Del Ninno

Beware the power of the Turtle.

My wife and I were walking the other day when we stumbled onto a posted sign by Volusia County, and what looked like a taped off crime scene. A closer look revealed a gopher turtle nest. Apparently, some nice folks bought a piece of property to someday build their retirement dream home, only to be stopped in their tracks by a stray turtle who happened to burrow a hole where a nice yard fountain could have been.

After some thought, I wondered just how much power turtles wield in Volusia County. I mean surely these mammals, whoops; reptiles know where they land on the food chain. Well, maybe the turtles know, but us people types have apparently put them numero uno.

To illustrate the power of the turtle, consider the following.

It's against the law to harass gopher tortoises. I wonder, if I walked by the nest and shouted at the turtle, could I go to jail for harassment? I mean, I harass my wife every day without any threat of the law. Ah, but she is only human.

Prior to building on a site with a turtle nest, you have to have a "gopher tortoise agent" come and.........what a minute, did I say a "gopher tortoise agent"? Yep, an actual agent whose job is to relocate gopher turtles to new homes. The last time I checked, we were throwing foreclosed residents out onto the street for land-squatting. Maybe we can hook them up with relocated turtles, as long as they know who rules.

But the gopher turtle's power doesn't compare to the sea turtle's power. In Volusia County, 36 miles of beach have very specific guidelines for sea turtle nesting. In fact, during season all lights (road, business, resident) have to be dimmed. So dimmed, that several pedestrians have been killed trying to cross the road without adequate lighting. I've lived here 20 years and never seen a baby sea turtle hatchling trying to cross the road drawn by the light. But I guess those are questions for the "Sea Turtle Lighting Compliance Officer". Yep, no kidding, don't make me repeat myself.

Sorry to say, but the World has turned into a very crazy place. But one thing is for sure, the power of the turtle has been around for a very long time. In fact, the early Florida Indians knew well the power of the turtle; and their soup was delicious.


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©2020 Mike Del Ninno