Turtle Triathlon

September 3, 2009

Turtles do a different kind of triathlon than people.  They can run – really!  Turtles can move fast.  And they can sure swim if they’re the right kind of turtle.  But as you might imagine, they have a little trouble with that bicycling part.

First they start with the running.  They go walkabout somewhere, and then come running back through the grass to get to the pond.

Turtle In Grass

They can zip along so quickly, that all of a sudden they are IN the pond.  (And somebody missed the picture of them tumbling in!)

Splash in water.

For the second part of their triathlon, they go for freestyle swimming.  First they float around for a while to sort of warm up.

Turtle floating in pond (RuralRamblings.com)

After that, they do a lesiurely front crawl. . .

Turtle swimming in pond.

And take the time to clown around a little bit and play with water refraction and reflections to pretend to be the Loch Ness monster.

Loch Ness Turtle Monster

When the turtle finally feels sufficiently warmed up, it starts the underwater swimming part of the competition and really dives down into the water.

Turtle Diving Underwater

Once underwater, the turtle swims around and around in the pond.

Turtle swimming along underwater.

Occasionally the turtle pops up near the bank to get its bearings.

Turtle underwater near bank of pond.

Until finally it swims past the finish line while the spectator dragonflies cheer wildly. . .

Turtle swimming underwater in pond.

Having completed the second section of the triathlon, it takes a few moments to savor this accomplishment and do a leisurely cool-down swim.

Since turtles can’t bicycle, not having the right form or bikes small enough to use, they do something different.  For the final leg of the triathlon, turtles borrow from lumberjack competitions and do a form of boom running. With lumberjacks, this is a sport “in which the competitor must run across a string of logs attached end to end in the water. The object is to run across the log boom, around an obstacle, and back faster then your opponent(s).”

Turtle sunbathing on log.

Our turtles do their own variation of boom running.  They only run far enough along the top of ONE log (which has strings attached to keep in anchored in one spot) to find a good place to settle down.  Then they participate in a sunbathing competition, seeing who can stay on the log the longest without getting scared off by some crazy woman with a camera.

Then I guess after all that strenuous competition, it’s time to relax.

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