As I'm watching the latest torrent of rain pour down upon our backyard pond, I'm thinking how long it will be before we can rid ourselves of Charlie I and Charlie II, the resident snapping turtles who have been ravaging our fish and scaring our neighborhood wood ducks.
Charlie I is a mossy-backed lug maybe 2 feet long or so from head to tail; Charlie II is somewhat smaller but equally ugly and menacing. In the morning we see them floating on the pond surface with only their noses protruding, like alligators.
Since we first told our friends and associates about the Charlies we've gotten all manner of advice on how to rid our pond of them -- everything from dispatching them with a gun to scooping them up with a large fishing net.
Fellow Traveler has actually attempted one turtle-catching method recommended by our church organist's husband, who's become keenly interested in our project: She made a fishing line with rope, attached the largest hook she could find to one end, tied the other end of the rope to an old bleach bottle and tried fishing for the Charlies with chicken livers. Here is what happened: The liver attracted our assortment of minnows, bluegills and small goldfish. Charlie I was also attracted...but instead of aiming for the liver, s/he stealthily moved beneath the bait, then to FT's horror rose up to devour a hapless goldfish.
We have even offered interested parties a bounty for removing these reptiles from our pond. So far we've gotten no takers, even among people who claim they enjoy eating turtle.
Bottom line: The Charlies must go. They need to be taken out (interpret that phrase any way you wish). Whether they wind up terrorizing their fellow wildlife in a backroads marsh or crispy-fried on someone's dinner table is a matter we'll leave to any intrepid turtle catchers.