My son, Steven, has autism, later diagnosed as Asperger’s syndrome.  He has always had accompanying obsessive compulsive disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and sensory integration deficit.  Our house is on a little lake, and one of Steven’s quirks is that he will not touch the water.  This is very ironic because his Asperger’s obsession is with reptiles, turtles and fish.  He often spends the entire day in our backyard catching fish and turtles.  Often, he takes the canoe out and paddle around, trolling for fish as he goes. He will never step in the water, though.

Our family has many get-togethers in our backyard.  With a paddleboat, canoe, kayak, rowboat, sailboat and raft, there is always plenty for the children to do.  While Steven likes to play on the raft with his friends, he always paddles out there in the kayak, again never putting a toe in the water.  He would often scare his friends, siblings and cousins with tales of HUGE turtles which lurk under the surface.

One afternoon a few years ago, while I was taking a nap, (one of my favorite activities,) I heard Steven screaming at the top of his lungs.  I’d never heard him scream like that before.  (I’d only heard tantrum screaming, nothing like this blood curdling sound.)  I leapt up out of bed and ran outside to see what I assumed would be a tragedy awaiting me.  There was Steven, in the canoe, holding his very large fish net which he often used to catch fish.  In the bottom of the canoe were 2 of the largest turtles I have ever seen anywhere!!!  They were more than 2 1/2 feet across!  He was standing on the seat screaming and I started screaming also.  I learned that he had caught them in his net while they were “stuck together” (ie mating.)  I’m looking at these 2 huge snapping turtles thinking there is no way they belong in our little lake…they should be in a zoo somewhere!  While I am thinking, one of the turtles casually climbs over the side of the canoe and falls back into the water!  After much wariness, but a sense of what would be the right thing to do, I suggest Steven flip the other one back into the water with the oar.  As he tries to do so, the turtle snaps at the oar breaking it, but not before gaining enough momentum to slip over the side of the canoe into the water.  Steven looked at me and said “I  TOLD you there were big turtles in the lake!”  This sighting definitely put a crimp on swimming for the rest of the summer…

As a follow up to this story, last summer one of the huge turtles was found dead on our beach.  Its legs and head were bloated and it looked awful.  I called the city’s animal rescue league and asked them to come get the dead turtle.  The woman who answered the phone obviously thought I was demented.  “Just THROW it back into the LAKE, ” she said several times.  I told her several times it was too BIG to just throw back into the lake, and she reluctantly agreed to send “someone” out to take a look.   The gentleman came in a city pick=up truck.  He ambled out of the truck in our front yard, put on gloves, and swaggered into our backyard, anxious to see this “huge turtle.”  As he got closer, he let out a loud “HOLY SH*T!”  Then he called for back-up. It took 2 men to carry this thing and plop it in the back of the pick-up truck!

Ever since first finding the turtles, for some odd reason, the children are not so anxious to go swimming…


Comments on: "The Turtle was TTTTTHHHHHHIIIIIIISSSSSSS Big! (Another Fish Story)" (33)

  1. Sounds like a great place to raise kids. Can’t say I blame them for being shy about swimming with huge snappers though.

  2. Yes I saw a snapping turtle probably 3 feet or more long, couple of hundred pounds. It was crossing the road and I was afraid it would get hit. So I thought I’d stop and help it. It lunged at me like it would take off my arm. I went back to my car. But the sight of that has definitely put a crimp on my desire to swim in any murky ponds.

  3. We have a 40 acre lake on the property and there are all kinds of monsters that live in it! The grass carp alone can be up to 6 feet long. The first time Mo and I saw one we screamed bloody murder and high-tailed it home. The lure of the swimming is too much to deter us though, but we never swim alone. Lol.

    My 19 yr old autistic son loves to swim. He used to be completely unafraid of the water, but as he aged he became scared of the deeper water. He likes to be able to touch. And what I’m calling swimming is the most viscious dog paddle ever, but it keeps him afloat! Lol. It’s probably safer now that he has a little fear.

    Great story!

  4. Kirsten Lesko said:

    This story is really cute (except for the part about the poor dead turtle, of course). And your little innocent peanut saying they were “stuck” together. So sweet.

    Sounds like your house is a kid’s dream. Our backyard is the size of a bed sheet and is sandwiched between 7 other tiny yards. LOL.

  5. It sounds absolutely beautiful where you live. I have my own funny yet sad turtle story. When I was two years old my brother had a pet turtle. I guess at the time I was not aware of living things as opposed to toys. so for some terrible reason I decided to stick a pen through the turtle…kind of like a kabob. I went into the kitchen to show my mother and brother. He started shrieking and she was mortified. I have forever been identified as a “turtle” killer in my family! I still feel bad to this day. Poor turtles!

    • 5kidswdisabilities said:

      Oh! That is one of those funny to remember stories that wasn’t so funny at the time! I have a similar one…I had a pet baby duck when I was little and when my mom told me to pick up my toys I picked them all up, including the duckling, threw them in my toy box and shut the cover. The poor thing didn’t survive and I did not, at the time, understand why it wasn’t moving…

  6. I’m with the kids, no swimming for me either!

    • 5kidswdisabilities said:

      Sometimes I think I should put one of those big shark nets around our raft area so the kids could swim without worries!

  7. Holy crap!

    I loved turtles as a child, but those sound just plain scary!

  8. OMG…what a funny story!

    I love turtles, but I think if I ever encountered ones that BIG, I would be screaming too.

    “the turtle snaps at the oar breaking it”

    OMG…it sounds like something out of a Stephen King novel.

    “Cujo the Turtle”


  9. I would have screamed too. Especially after it bit the oar in half! Yikes!

  10. Oh my, your on dangerous waters. Snapping turtles have a very powerful bite force that can crush a bone in one snap. Be very careful when you and your family are around lake. 🙂

    • 5kidswdisabilities said:

      I know…now no one puts a toe in the water! But they still love fishing and boating!

      • 5kidswdisabilities said:

        yes, he would LOVE deep sea fishing. Unfortunately, my husband and I both get sea sick…

  11. Hi! As I’m reading your story I’m nodding my head in agreement with your son about the turtles. I live in Florida on a lake and I have more respect and fear for the enormous snapping turtles than the gators. They’re so huge, they look prehistoric and vicious? They snapped off the end of a rake my husband was using to prod one of them out of our backyard and back into their water. Oh, and we can’t swim in our lakes down here in the tropics. The gators would have us for lunch.

    Great post.

  12. I bet Steven would LOVE deep sea fishing!! Whenever we go we see tons of cool stuff like sharks and giant sea turtles and dolphins. Aside from the ginormous fish we catch!

    And we used to swim in a reservoir when we were kids and see all sorts of nasty stuff. Once I saw the water moccasin I was done with that body of water for awhile! I dont blame the kids for being afraid!!

  13. That was a great story!! I really do enjoy meeting new people.
    Having had a Downs Syndrome sister and having a Autisitc Grandson, your title really caught me.
    I am sure I will be back often.

  14. I lived in NC when I was a teenager and went with an older man to investigate claims from a neighbor about her ducks vanishing in the pond behind her home, while we were talking to her we actually saw one of the ducks begin to flap his wings like he was trying to get away only to be pulled under the water, to make a long story short in one days time we removed about 25 medium to large turtles from this pond, one he held by the tail with his hand about waist high and the front legs were on the ground.

  15. What a fantastic story! Oh I would not be swimming in that pond, ever! If those turtles were still in the “together” stage, where are the grandparent turtles and imagine how big they are! lol

  16. Holy cow! I’d be scared to swim in the lake after that too!

  17. lol, between your adventures with the giant turtle and the dancing snake, I’m surprised my killer cat worried you:)
    Just had to check out your site, you tell some very interesting stories!

  18. Loooove it! And I agree with the kids. I’m NOT swimming in your lake!!

  19. He must have been strong to pull those two turtles out of the water in one net. Have you guys gone swimming in the lake since? (I can’t imagine having the courage to!)

    • 5kidswdisabilities said:

      No, we kind of stay out of the lake now, although I’ve been thinking of putting in one of those huge shark nets they use at beaches to keep sharks out!

  20. jo-sexualself-injury said:

    Great story. I’m terrified of the water! You’re such a good mom. Your family is lucky to have you.

  21. I like this story. Sometimes the turtle really IS that big, huh? My son has sensory processing issues and tactile defensiveness is a biggy. So I can relate to the not-wanting-to-go-into-the-water issue.

  22. That turtle must have been a shock for animal control. Glad the young man has fun exploring there….

  23. Wow! Holy Cow! We don’t have turtles, snapping or otherwise in our area, the Pacific Northwest is way too cold! I have seen Red Sliders in a golf course water hazard in Eastern Washington but the largest one was about the size of my fist. When I was a little girl we lived in sourthern California. I remember large tortoises but they were really mellow and loved to be fed dandilion flowers! I will be enjoying your blog from now on!

  24. Shoot. I don’t blame them. I wouldn’t swim in that lake either!

  25. O my lanta it ;bit the oar and broke it. It musta been scary huge! Shivers

  26. I love to swim in the ocean–no fear of sharks, but somehow lakes do seem a little scarier. It probably IS the the thought of the turtles.

  27. I LOVE turtles but I think these would’ve scared even me!
    I love your blog, very funny and charming!

  28. […] The Turtle was TTTTTHHHHHHIIIIIIISSSSSSS Big! (Another Fish Story … […]

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