Attack of the Terrapins

Attack of the Terrapins

If you ask my nephew, turtles are freakin’ creepy. I never saw them that way, until our recent trip to Kruger.

South Africans call turtles “terrapins” which is also what the British call them, according to Wikitardia.

Driving a back road from Olifants Rest Camp to the overlook, we stopped while crossing a little pond. It was a pretty little spot, and I noticed a couple turtles in the water.

turtles in Kruger National Park expat life Pretoria South Africa travel
Such a pretty, little pond on the drive to Olifants Overlook…until the terrapins see you.

But as we sat there, we realized the turtles were not just swimming about aimlessly, they were headed straight for our bakkie!

turtles in Kruger National Park expat life Pretoria South Africa travel
Turtles swimming toward our bakkie in Kruger National Park.

“What…is…happening?” I whispered to Kurt. They were eyeballing us like they thought they could actually overtake us.

turtles in Kruger National Park expat life Pretoria South Africa travel
Terrapin pond on drive to Olifants overlook Kruger National Park
turtles in Kruger National Park expat life Pretoria South Africa travel
Terrapin closing in. Pond on drive to Olifants in Kruger National Park.
turtles in Kruger National Park expat life Pretoria South Africa travel
At first we couldn’t decide if the bakkie was their mothership, or if we looked like lunch.

And, in fact, their stare was so hypnotic I almost began to think I would not be able to drive away, let alone look away.

turtles in Kruger National Park expat life Pretoria South Africa travel
That stare. Turtles are not creepy until they catch you in their gaze…
turtles in Kruger National Park expat life Pretoria South Africa travel
Try. to. look. away…
turtles in Kruger National Park expat life Pretoria South Africa travel
The terrapin stare. Unholy.

“They’re coming out of the water!” It was like somebody decided to put us into a new Monty Python movie, but didn’t tell us. Finally, we incited the only words we could muster when faced with charging turtles (or attack rabbits with nasty, big, pointy teeth): “Run away! Run away!”

turtles in Kruger National Park expat life Pretoria South Africa travel

turtles in Kruger National Park expat life Pretoria South Africa travel

We sped off down the road, relieved to know we had escaped whatever plot the terrapins had hatched.

Please folks, don’t feed anything in a national park, not even turtles. If not for their sake, for the sake of us poor, Monty Python-infused tourists who succumb to their beguiling stare so easily.

Love, Marla

11 Replies to “Attack of the Terrapins”

  1. Hello Marla,
    Great story. To me that is what traveling is all about,the experiences and stories.
    For future adventures in Africa and the bush. Tortoises live on land,terrapins in fresh water (but they smell BAD!!) and turtles are marine living.

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Bianca. It’s so great to hear what the regional differences are. Each of my posts include the terminology from my home country (America) as well as the terminology from the country I’m in.
      In the case of this crazy little creature, Americans define “turtle” as freshwater and land. Technically, marine as well (“sea turtle”).
      It’s so much fun to see the language differences, particularly when it comes to animals. Thanks again for enjoying the story. Hope you’ll return. I’m sure there will be more differences in terminology as our adventures continue, and I love to hear variety! 🙂

  2. It is hard to laugh your ass off in an office atmosphere without walls, but sometimes you get sent something that makes it happen.

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