This is a retro post from 8/9/2004.
(The story is true, I am ashamed to say!)
The story took place in Florida, where the company I worked for was located. They had moved me there and we were staying in a temporary furnished apartment while house hunting.)
I was out in my little bitty MG looking for houses in Melbourne, Florida… I was driving back streets just off 192. Coming off of a side street I turned back onto 192, headed away from our apartment.
I saw a VERY large turtle (about the size of a trash can lid) on its back near the curb. It was alive and had its legs flailing trying to find purchase, but it could not right itself. As soon as it was safe (and legal, of course), I turned around and went back to rescue the poor thing.
I arrived and the turtle pulled its head and feet in and clammed up. At this point it appeared safe to handle, and even somewhat docile. I picked it up and placed it (on its back) on the passenger seat floor of my little car. and headed for a turn-around, thinking I would let it go at the lake at the apartment complex.
About the time I reached over with my right hand to down-shift to second, I felt a sharp and painful bite – the beast had bitten me while it was upside down! Its neck stretched a good foot, and it had a good grip on my right hand.
At this point, I made my second mistake (after picking up the thing in the first place). I yanked my hand away – hard. But the turtle had a good grip on me, and I managed only to rip off a section of flesh (mine).
Since I was halfway through the turn around at this point, and I had missed second gear and was now in neutral, I was a sitting duck for oncoming traffic. I reached over with my left hand to drop the transmission into second and felt a searing pain in my left forearm.
The beast had struck again! My natural reaction to pull away was abated this time – instead I batted at the thing with my bloody right arm and raised my right leg to provide some measure of protection.
The devil actually started HISSING at me, and quickly struck my right knee-cap. It pierced the skin on my knee-cap through and through. It bit right through a $60 pair of slacks, and drew blood. I reached for the only thing I could get at, and threw my laptop carrying case over the creature and finally made it back to the apartment.
Later, after I had recovered from the emotional and physical duress (somewhat – there may be lingering issues that haunt me forever – I could require extensive treatment!), my kids let the thing go in the lake.