The Tortoise and The...Cat? / by laurel

When I was a kid, my Grandma found a turtle in her backyard. It was a box turtle, similar to this one:


We adopted the turtle, who seemed to wander in from the middle of nowhere and didn't have any owners in the neighborhood to claim her. Jody more or less adopted her as her own and named her Phoebe. Phoebe the Turtle. 

Phoebe was okay, but after awhile I started noticing that Phoebe and I didn't really get along. Whenever I came close to her, rather than retract her scaly little beady-eyed head into her shell, as most turtles are thought to do, she would hiss at me, rattling her teeny turtle tongue in my direction. Hiss? You say. Yes, hiss. Less guttural than a growl, more menacing than a purr. It was a hiss. 

Anyway, we eventually let Phoebe go in a creek near our house because in addition to being surprisingly high-maintenance pets, turtles also carry a high probability of passing on salmonella at some point, a risk we weren't willing to take. 

Good riddance, I say, though I'm sure Phoebe is stomping around hissing the living daylights out of all sorts of woodland creatures in the Oregon countryside. Nevertheless, turtles can be mean, but that doesn't mean turtles can't also be hilarious:
This little guy will stop at nothing to defend his territory. Seeing him motor about like a tiny gray robot has been the highlight of my day. And it doesn't hurt that Mr. Turtle and I share something in common: A loathsome distaste for felines.