I’m a physical science person. My training is in physics and math education, and as a science museum professional I base most of my work on the easy-to-demonstrate physical properties of matter rather than the much harder to show properties of the living world. Yet I write about turtles. Why?

One reason I think is something that happened to me when I was maybe 3 or 4 years old. I grew up in Columbus, and we have these city parks with concrete ponds (no not swimming pools, we’re not that much in the sticks; these are real ponds lined with concrete, with concrete sidewalks all around). Anyway, one day my mother had taken me to one of these parks, called Goodale Park, and as I was walking around this nasty old pond, a turtle stuck its head right up where I was looking and said something like “blurdup.” Looking back, I think it was just the sound of the water splashing, but at the time I thought the turtle had burped at me!

That pretty much hooked me, and I’ve been fascinated with turtles ever since.

I can’t be certain; maybe I’m just enhancing an old memory, but I think the turtle was a common snapping turtle, like this one. If not, enjoy anyway.