/ Letters / Response to article about turtle found on the ice

Response to article about turtle found on the ice

April 17, 2020

To the Editor:

I read with great interest the article concerning the turtle that was recently found lying upside down on the ice, because I have experienced that same situation twice in my life, both times in the 1970s.

My first discovery took place during the winter of 1972-73 while I was checking my beaver traps on the frozen surface of Lost Creek in St. Germain.

I came upon the remains of a turtle, plus much visible evidence as to what had taken place, due to a layer of fairly fresh snow.

Near the marshy bank was a hole in the ice about 12 inches in diameter with frozen mud all around the edges of the hole, which contained a thin layer of new ice. There were many easily identified tracks of an otter, or possibly two otters, indicating what had found and carried the turtle out of its hibernation location in the muddy creek bottom.

Otters will eat most any living thing, including turtles if nothing else is available. All that remained of this turtle was its shell, as all four  of its feet, legs, tail, plus the head and neck had been eaten by the otter or otters.

I assume otters tip their victim upside down, allow it to freeze to death and then dine without a fight from the turtle. By the description of the recent turtle on the ice when it was found would lend substance to my suspicion the tracks found at the site were made by otters, or possibly coyotes that came upon the turtle before the otters returned to finish their meal of turtle legs, tail, neck and head.

My second dead turtle on the ice discovery took place during the winter of 1974-75 on the frozen surface of Presque Isle Creek while cross country skiing with friends. This time the re-frozen hole in the ice was visible, but fresh snow had covered any tracks that had been left behind by what I guessed must have been otters. As had been my first discovery, the remains of this second discovery mirrored what remained of the first turtle I discovered.

And, that’s my theory of how and why a boy found the turtle as reported in the March 20 issue of The Times.

Leon “Buckshot” Anderson

St. Germain

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