The least effective way to deal with a barking dog…..

… to scream and yell at her. Bad idea.

Intellectually, I KNOW this.

But when Zip freaked out at a diamondback terrapin who decided to lay eggs in our driveway, it was a ridiculous scene.

The poor terrapin, just trying to do her thing, accosted by a crazed terrorist (I mean terrier), shriek-barking and running in circles, trying to nip at her while she’s indisposed.

And me, yelling and running in circles after Zip, who will win any race, any time with any person. No question.

I was worried that the turtle would bite her. When I said that to Kevin, he just looked at me. “Diamondback terrapins don’t bite”, he said, with a look that said “duh, idiot”. Well, do I really know that? I consult my mental reference library, and decide that no, I really do not know whether they bite or not. They look pretty harmless, with the big lips and all, but I dunno. The last thing I needed was a bit dog, or a bit turtle, or a big trip to the vet with somebody bleeding all over me and my car, is what I was thinking.

So I tossed a trash can lid on top of the poor turtle. Which stopped Zip for a few moments…..but then we continued the yell-bark-chase thing for about 5 minutes until I was REALLY pissed off. Then Zip just laid down, and I snatched her up and locked her inside.

I ran to the turtle, pulled off the trash can lid and she just sat there, holed up inside her shell.  I stepped away, got into the car and as soon as I was out of her sight, that poor terrapin made a run for the water. She was FLYING across the yard to get away from all of us.

I inspected the hole – it was pretty deep – about 3-4 inches. No sign of eggs or anything egg-like.

I was recently reading about terrapins on the website of the Terrapin Institute. They really need both a marsh to live in and a sandy beach to lay eggs on – in order to thrive. And I was thinking that although we have a great marsh here, we have no sandy beach. I suppose the terrapin thought our driveway would make a good substitute – the hatchlings would just have to traverse the length of the yard to get to the marshy grasses and water. But with Zip there, watching her? Doesn’t seem so smart.

Perhaps its high time I go visit my neighbors down in Neavitt – the Terrapin Institute is only 5 miles away from me. Marguerite Whilden had commented on this blog a while back and invited me to visit. And it’s been on my list of things to do. Perhaps with a little education, I would have handled this thing differently. Because Zip was just doing her job, I suppose. No laying eggs on her turf. Seems fair enough, from her perspective. However, I would have been glad to protect some eggs, if I could.

Maybe the folks at the Terrapin institute can straighten me out.

~ by kbosin on June 25, 2011.

2 Responses to “The least effective way to deal with a barking dog…..”

  1. Oh my! Great pictures. Our golden retrievers would have picked up the turtle 🙂

  2. Hey there, not receiving e-mail properly, so I missed this entry. Next time, if possible you could leave the terrapin finish nesting, they seem to tune out the dogs, and we can help you relocate the eggs after the nesting process. Otherwise, you can nudge them to move off the driveway, but it’s Hit or Miss as to where terrapin will attempt the nest process again. would love for you to visit. ..

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